The United Nations organizes language competitive examinations (LCEs) to recruit language specialists to positions across the Organization. LCEs are both function- and language-specific. Brief descriptions of the different language positions available in the United Nations are provided in the box on the upper left of this page. For more detailed information on the work of United Nations language professionals and the competencies required, visit www.unlanguage.org.
The six official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Language posts require a perfect command of one of these languages and excellent knowledge of at least one other (except posts in the German translation service at Headquarters, which require a perfect command of German).
The examinations are scheduled according to the needs of the Organization. Those interested in applying should check this website frequently for announcements of LCEs in their language and professional specialization. Please note that the application process begins several months before the examination date, and the application period lasts only a few weeks. Those who pass both the written and oral parts of an examination are placed on the corresponding roster and are then recruited as and when vacant posts need to be filled.
The United Nations is a global organization; it encourages mobility within and across duty stations. Successful candidates may be called upon to serve at its duty stations in Geneva, Nairobi, New York, Vienna and its regional commissions in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut and Santiago, according to the needs of the Organization. Successful candidates are expected to serve a minimum of five years in language posts before they can apply for another type of post within the United Nations.
For information on other LCEs coming up, click on the What’s new tab above. The examinations are open to all who meet the eligibility and qualification requirements (including language combinations) detailed in each examination announcement posted on this page. For details on how to apply, click on the LCE application process tab above. For an idea of what the examinations consist of, click on the Sample examinations tab above. Information on the status of LCEs that are no longer accepting applications but have not yet concluded can be found by clicking on the Examination status tab above.