• World Health
Within the WHO, there are professional positions offered on a permanent and
temporary basis throughout the world that use foreign language skills. The
health-related employment opportunities require a background in public health
education, while the non-health related fields expect some business education,
depending on the exact position. The official languages of the WHO are English,
French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, and any one of these languages
may be a prerequisite for any of the jobs, depending on job location.
• Doctors Without
Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors without Borders, is termed the "largest
private humanitarian relief organization." Career opportunities on the site are
listed on a limited, by-need basis, but the need for volunteers is great.
Non-medical as well as medical volunteers are needed, and language, though not a
specific volunteer position, is a vital asset to the organization. Specifically,
French, Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian allows for a faster and more useful
placement to any position with Doctors without Borders. Minimal length of first
missions usually ranges from 6-12 months.
• American Red Cross
The Red Cross provides medical help and disaster relief services across the
United States and the world, and often, foreign languages skills are a necessity
in this endeavor. With a permanent staff as well as a very large number of
volunteers, translation and interpreter services are provided throughout
communities and overseas. The United Way, the police, fire departments, schools
and other organizations call upon the Language Bank service of the Red Cross in
order to communicate in an almost unlimited number of languages. The website is
organized mainly by chapter, and job availability with the Language Bank varies
accordingly. The best way to search for these jobs is to first choose a location
• Catholic Medical Mission Board is a medical
agency providing international health care for third world relief.
• Amnesty International
This activist organization fights for human rights worldwide. Language experts
are always needed in many forms, including translators and interpreters for
important documents or conferences, for example. Language jobs may be offered
permanently in the organization, but are only advertised according to
availability. Opportunity abounds for volunteers and sometimes internships using
translation and interpreting skills, and all volunteers are recruited on minimum
basis of 8 weeks full time or 3 months part time. Listed on the job area site
are only those positions available in the international office, but contact the
country of interest to find positions available there.
The WB provides a source of developmental assistance for the economies of
developing nations, and in this process, need professional staff members who
have a good understanding of policy and who have had international work
experience. Foreign language skills are often a requirement for this type of
employment in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.
International Monetary Fund
The IMF strives toward international monetary cooperation, exchange stability,
and economic growth from its 183 member countries. In this endeavor, this
organization usually employs economists and financial analysts. Professional
positions including translator and interpreter are solicited on a need basis.
NATO the Interpreters and Translators are members of two independent
services, the Translation Service and the Interpretation Service both forming
part of Conference and Registry Services. The two working languages of NATO are
English and French and staff members of the linguistic services work only in
these two languages.
In the language occupational group of UN employment, opportunities include
translation, interpretation, terminology, verbatim reporting, and proofreading.
Language services are needed at every UN meeting in the six official languages
of this organization: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
Educational requirements differ for each specific position, posted on the
current position area of the site. Translators and interpreters are required to
be proficient in three languages.
Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO has a variety of professional linguist positions. Interpreters as well as
translators are employed on a permanent or free-lance basis, with higher
education and professional experience taken into account, and occasionally good
candidates are recruited based on these qualifications. Translators usually have
to know two languages besides their mother tongue, and outside translators are
sometimes employed to work and be paid by the page. Minute-writer is unique
career opportunity with UNESCO, and these permanent employees summarize speeches
made by delegates during meetings and conferences.
United Nations Children's Fund
UNICEF offers aid to children all over the world. Employment vacancies are
presented on a rolling basis for permanent positions. The Junior Professional
Officer Program is a good way for young people age 28-32 to start out in the
organization through developmental service. A master's degree and fluency in at
least one UN language besides English is required: Arabic, Chinese, French,
Spanish, or Russian.
There are a wide variety of other organizations within the United Nations such
as UNAIDS, UNCHS, UNIDO, UNEP, and WFP. Check out the many opportunities on
their sites also!
International Volunteer Organizations
Almost all of the
international organizations for human service are non-profit, and therefore,
they rely substantially on volunteers to carry out their services. Language
skills are almost always useful or required. Service in these organizations can
be within the United States or internationally located, and a certain amount of
time in service is usually specified. Below are some examples, though not by any
means an exhaustive list:
• Peace Brigades
• UN Volunteers
• Save the Children
• Action Against Hunger
• International Rescue Committee