The English Translation Section is primarily responsible for producing summary records and for translating into English documents received in the five other official languages of the United Nations. Our clients are diverse and include the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Law Commission (ILC) and the Conference on Disarmament. OHCHR accounts for over 60 per cent of our translation work. Most of the documents we receive in that connection are prepared by Member States or the Geneva-based human rights treaty bodies.
Producing summary records accounts for 60 per cent of the Section’s workload and is referred to as “précis-writing”. Staff draft and revise summary records of meetings of the 10 treaty bodies and the International Law Commission. As this is an important part of the Section’s work, training is provided to all newcomers in this area. Précis-writing is an intensive task, but it also gives staff first-hand knowledge of the work of the United Nations.
We are a fairly diverse group, representing a number of different nationalities including American, British, Canadian, Estonian, French, Irish, Italian, Malaysian, Spanish and Swiss. Some of us have been with the United Nations for one year, some of us for more than 20. Between us we have almost 400 years of experience in translation and knowledge of over a dozen languages.