Exam Preparation

Preparing for language competitive examinations and freelance tests

When preparing for a language examination or test, it is a good idea to read through all the information and tips available on the United Nations Careers website (such as the information on the role of translators/précis-writers, the information on the language competitive examination, the resources on précis-writing and the advice about competency-based interviews). Useful advice on writing for the United Nations may also be found in this report writing course.

To familiarize yourself with the style, register and terminology of United Nations documents, you can visit the Official Document System and download documents in different languages. If you download the same document in English and your source languages, you can identify terms that crop up frequently and create a glossary of such terms in your working languages. You should also consider doing a timed translation of a document and checking it against the official translation available on the Official Document System.

You can familiarize yourself with issues relevant to the United Nations by listening to the audio bulletins and reading the articles on the UN News website. Stories and bulletins are available in each of the six official languages. If you need to increase your knowledge of a particular subject area, such as law or economics, you can do so by reading articles addressing those areas in your working languages, either in the mainstream press or in specialist publications.

Video by Sean on preparing for the UN language competitive examination
Video by Emily on preparing for the UN language competitive examination
Video by Joanna on preparing for the UN language competitive examination

Here you can find a video about a translator’s journey.