Hunger / 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.
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.
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 of interest.
• Catholic Medical Mission
Board is a medical agency providing international health care
for third world relief.
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
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.
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.
• In 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.
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.
Nations 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
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,
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!
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:
• UN Volunteers