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Organizational context


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty and hunger. It does so by investing in rural people. IFAD finances programmes and projects that increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes, and  advocates at the local, national and international level for policies that contribute to rural transformation.


Post's organizational accountability


The Office of the Secretary of IFAD is responsible for the effective and efficient planning and organization of IFAD's governing body meetings as well as for establishing, building and effectively maintaining relations with IFAD's Member States and its Representatives to the governing bodies.  Conference and Language Services ensures the efficient programming and servicing of IFAD meetings and is responsible for the provision of interpretation, editing, translation and terminology in IFAD's four official languages (Arabic, English, French and Spanish). Specifically Language Services (LS) is responsible for the quality, consistency and accuracy of the documentation provided, in the four official languages, to governing body meetings as well as for the language processing of correspondence with Members States.  LS also provides services to the organization in processing communication materials, publications, guidelines and manuals.


The French Senior Language Services Specialist  provides accurate, timely and stylistically appropriate translations into one of the IFAD main languages (French)  of texts written mainly in English for distribution to Member States and/or members of the Secretariat. His/her duties may include revision of translations done by other staff and the planning and coordination of the work of small groups of translators.

  • Management of Translation
  • Linguistic Research
  • Management of Computer-assisted translation and technology tools

S/he translates and self-revises a range of administrative, legal, economic, scientific and technical texts, particularly in the field of finance, agricultural and rural development. The incumbent applies his/her analytical, linguistic and drafting skills to translating and self-revising texts. The incumbent checks his/her own work for accuracy, completeness, comprehensibility, style and presentation and is responsible for the quality of the translation of the texts.


The French Senior Language Services Specialist works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance of the Secretary of IFAD and the general supervision of the Chief, Conference and Language Services. Within their areas of responsibility, Senior Specialists exercise a high degree of independence in providing the delivery of language services in the respective language.  Senior Specialists may have direct or delegated responsibility in organizing and coordinating the work of teams of translators or lower-level staff.


Key results expected / Major functional activities


1.  Management of Translation: As the primary function the French Senior Language Services Specialist revises in the target language from two other languages of the Organization, translations, including summary records, prepared by staff at lower levels and/or by free-lance and contractual translators, on a wide range of political, social, legal, economic, financial administrative, scientific and technical subjects or on a more limited range of subjects requiring considerable specialization. In particular, accountabilities may include but are not limited to: 

  • Translate, normally from two languages of the Organization, revise and self-revise, especially important, complex, technical and urgent texts for issue without further revision.
  • In the case of both translation and revision, produce versions in the target language that reflect the more skilled point of view and approach of a senior translator or reviser and which are, in terms of accuracy, completeness, meaning, style and effectiveness, the equivalent of the original text, adapted as necessary to the intended target readership.
  • Such translations and revisions use the most appropriate range of vocabulary and professional, scientific or technical concepts and terms, and incorporate the results of any supplementary research by the incumbent as may be necessary to solve problems of terminology and meaning, or any consultations with substantive units concerning manifest or possible inconsistencies or errors in the original text, including the originator's mistranslation or misinterpretation of source material.
  • Provide authoritative and comprehensive answers to queries from translation suppliers on a variety of translation issues and on the specifics; develop and update translation guidelines, reusable training materials, and reference materials; and contribute to the definition and implementation of translation quality assurance measures.


2. Linguistic Research: The French Senior Language Services Specialist carries out linguistic research and assists in compiling, developing and maintaining a uniform terminology suitable for translation of the documentation issued by the Organization, taking into account the terminology in use in the organizations of the United Nations system and incorporating it into the terminology database of the IFAD Language Services. S/he liaises with author units and other units involved in document production to harmonize the translation in the various languages and conducts supplementary research to resolve problems of terminology and meaning, and consults with substantive units regarding possible inconsistencies or errors in the original text.


3. Management of Computer-assisted translation and technology tools

  • Keep abreast of developments in computer-assisted translation and technology tools (CAT tools) in order to promote their use within the unit. 
  • Participate in the development and the use of computer-assisted translation and terminology tools, providing regular feedback on and recommendations for their application within the Service.


4. MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: The French Senior Language Services Specialist at this level has typically the accountability for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources. This includes:

  • Depending on the structure and staffing of the translation service concerned, has direct or delegated responsibility for:
    • (a) Organizing and coordinating the work of teams of translators of the same language group, and monitoring progress of such work in relation to an agreed schedule, or coordinating the work of revisers engaged in the preparation of final versions of a text in several languages for simultaneous issue before or during a meeting; and
    • b) Guiding and training translators and trainee revisers, grading tests of candidates for employment, including prospective contractual translators, and providing evaluations on lower-level staff for use in performance appraisals by higher-level staff. 
  • Resource Management by providing strategic and data inputs into the divisional budget preparation exercises.
  • Knowledge and Content Management by ensuring (1) knowledge content within functional area is continuously updated and available to colleagues (2) best practices are continuously identified, documented and distributed.
  • Information Technology Management through leveraging ICT functionality for improved business results, simplification of translation process and improved client services.


Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators


The French Senior Language Specialist is accountable for (i) translation, revision and self-revision of texts covering a broad range of scientific, technical, administrative and legal subjects, ensuring that translations are equivalent in meaning and style to the original texts; (ii) research points of terminology, language and subject matter and assist in the development of the central terminology database and reference archive; and (iii) provide training and guidance to (contracted) translators as necessary. 


Decisions take the form of individual judgements and final determinations, often based on research conducted by the incumbent. They include the suitability of translations in terms of accuracy, completeness, technical competence, clarity and readability, and of producing a revised text or a self-revised translation which is ready for processing in final form and the determination of appropriate terminology. Given the nature of the tasks and the degree of independence at this level, errors could have a disruptive effect on the processing and utilization of documentation for publication or at meetings could affect the quality and acceptability of the Organization's services in the target language and could have financial, political, technical or operational implications.


Representation / Work relationships


Internally, the French Senior Language Specialist liaises with author units and other units involved in document production , to clarify difficulties arising from texts submitted for translation as to ensure that there is neither mistranslation or misinterpretation of source material.


External contacts include work contacts with counterparts in translation services in other international organizations and with libraries and professional associations, with a view of obtaining and exchanging information on relevant reference material, technical subjects, translation standards, procedures and policies and questions of terminology. Contacts are made with members of delegations to conferences and the staff of permanent missions in order to ensure that translations correspond faithfully to the intent of official communications and ensuring the accuracy of translated texts before issuance.





  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level 1)
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Leads by example; initiates and supports change (Level 2)
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Challenges, innovates and contributes to a learning culture (Level 2)
  • Focusing on clients: Contributes to a client-focused culture (Level 2)
  • Problem solving and decision making: Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact (Level 2)
  • Managing time, resources and information: Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources (Level 2)
  • Team Work: Fosters a cohesive team environment (Level 2)
  • Communicating and negotiating: Acquires and uses a wide range of communication styles and skills (Level 2)
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally (Level 2)
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively (Level 1)



  • Clear and concise style; broad general knowledge; demonstrated aptitude for technical and general translation work.
  • Ability to interact effectively with internal and external counterparts.
  • Ability to work under pressure, using the latest technology and methods, while maintaining high levels of production and quality.
  • Skill and initiative in researching points of terminology, language and subject matter. Sound knowledge of research techniques for translators and ability to harness Internet resources efficiently.
  • Ability to use the most appropriate range of vocabulary and professional, scientific or technical concepts and terms.


Minimum recruitment qualifications



  • Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in languages or another relevant field.



  • At least eight (8) years of progressively responsible professional experience in and a demonstrated ability to perform the translation, revision and quality assessment of technical texts.
  • Good working knowledge of standard MS Office applications and ability to work with Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools.
  • Knowledge of terminology in the area of finance, agriculture and rural development will be an advantage. 


Language requirements:

  • Must have a perfect command of French or should be the mother tongue or principal language of education. 
  • Excellent command of English is required. 
  • Excellent knowledge of Spanish and/or Arabic is an asset.


Other information


Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD, and they may be assigned by him/her to any of the activities of IFAD, including field assignments and/or rotation within IFAD. 

In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful

Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews.




This is how cinfo can support you in the application process for this specific position: 


  • Before you apply for this position: Improve your application documents by registering for a Job Application Support
  • When invited to the interview: Prepare for the interview by registering for a Job Application Support. This service is offered free of charge to Swiss nationals.  


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Data pubblicazione Pubblicato il: 04/02/2021.