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Translation and Interpreting

If you want to work in translation and interpreting at government level, FCO Services might just be the ideal place for you. Our team are the only externally-facing UK Government translation and interpreting service, and it makes for incredible career experience. Whether it’s translating materials for international summits such as the G20, or working on legal opinions for use in the EU legal community, the work is as varied as it is vital. 

Not the career you wanted?

If this isn’t what you had in mind, answer a few questions and we’ll find where you fit.

Key roles in the area

  • Translation Managers
  • Interpretation Manager
  • Translator Revisers
  • Translators
  • Business Manager
  • Publications Project Officer

Note: we have no in-house interpreters and our freelance interpreters are managed by our Interpreting Manager. Find out more about how to apply as a freelance below.

Hear from one of the team

You’re not always working on the same subject matter here. It can be almost anything. If you’ve got big ambitions, this is real exposure to all kinds of subjects – which greatly enhances your standing as a professional translator.

Translation and Interpreting colleague

The main languages our team translate from and into include French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic.

Our Translation and Interpreting team are based in King Charles Street, London.

World-class translators – from the ground up

We tend to recruit our translators at graduate and postgraduate level, meaning you don’t need to have work experience yet. So, you could be:

  • A graduate with a degree in at least two languages and, ideally, with a postgraduate translation qualification.
  • A graduate with a degree in one language and professional experience of translation from at least one additional language.

Learning and development

Alongside the training available to the wider FCO Services team, there are some specific options in place to help our Translation and Interpreting team excel:

  • External language tuition to help the team learn new languages for translation
  • Encouragement to study subject areas relevant to our work, including law, since much of our work is in the legal sphere

Find out about overall training and benefits at Life at FCO Services

Our team do everything from translating the Foreign Secretary’s statements into Arabic, to translating pleadings before the European Court of Justice for consideration by the UK Government.

Our unique position as the only externally-facing UK Government translation service means our team have an incredible launchpad for their future career.

Case studies

Want to learn more about the work we do? Have a look at our case studies and explore the impact of our projects – and the diverse skills that come together to make it all happen.

About your application

If you’re applying for an advertised role as a translator, the application will involve various stages – including a test of your language abilities. Here’s how the process differs from our organisation’s usual applications:

Our team will shortlist the candidates suitable to be taken forward for testing, on the basis of the merit of your initial online application. You can find out about that here.

 

Candidates attend a testing day in London, where you’ll complete two written translations – one general, one with a legal basis – from each language being tested, into English. If you need any adjustments or financial support, we’ll help as much as we can.

The test translations will be marked and scored externally and anonymously. Candidates will then be ranked on the basis of those scores, and the top-scoring candidates will be invited to interview.

From here, the process is the same as it is across FCO Services, and you can find out more here

What do I need to thrive here?

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1. Knowledge of your language(s)

You have in-depth understanding of foreign languages, with a fluent, clear style in your native language.

2. Attention to detail

You’ll ensure absolute accuracy in conveying meaning from one language into another.

3. Adaptability

You adapt to changing priorities, managing a workload that can change day by day.

4. Collaboration

You’ll often translate as part of a team, supporting each other in work of the highest quality.

Information for freelancers

If you’re interested in becoming a freelance translator or interpreter for us, please submit your CV to us at the following address:

fcoservices.recruitment@fco.gov.uk

All our freelancers will need to be security cleared to the same standards as our permanent colleagues, so please see our How to Apply page for more detail on eligibility and vetting.

Latest roles

Want to join FCO Services but can’t see a live role to suit you? Great news: you can sign up for job alerts or add your CV to our talent pool and we’ll be in touch when something comes up.

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