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International Organizations

Hunger / Health

World Health Organization
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.

Doctors Without Borders
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.

American Red Cross
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.

Human Rights

Amnesty International
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 available there.


World Bank
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.

International Monetary Fund
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.

United Nations

United Nations
In the 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.

United 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 and conferences.

United 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, or Russian.

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!

International Volunteer Organizations

Almost all 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:

Peace Brigades International
UN Volunteers
Save the Children
Action Against Hunger
International Rescue Committee

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