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  1. Which are the main differences between the LCEs and the freelance tests?
  2. Do you need to pass a freelance test in order to be able to apply for a LCE?
  3. Do you need to be based (to have your professional domicile) in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna or New York in order to be able to sit for a freelance test?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

asked 16 Dec '15, 03:54

David's gravatar image


Hi David,

As far as I know, you do not have to be based anywhere in particular to sit either of the tests. OTOH, once you have passed the freelance test, if you want to be hired in NY, Geneva or Vienna, you will have to be based there. Nairobi and other UN cities are too small to have that requirement, but will certainly favor interpreters who are either local or cheap to bring in.

The freelance test is done locally, i.e. Geneva tests for Geneva, NY tests for NY. This means that if you pass the test in Nairobi, you may not be hired in Geneva. And if you want to work in NY, as well as the rest of the world, take the NY freelance test. Also, I have known the heads of booth in other UN organizations to invite people in for dummy booth, and then listen to them there. If there is a formal test, the organization uses its staff to read speeches that have been given by real delegates. Expect that they will try to avoid anything that may be online so that you may have practiced it before.

The competitive exam is done for the entire UN system, which means that you will not have a live speaker, and your rendition will be recorded. Then a group of staff interpreters/heads of booth from different UN bodies listen to each of the recordings, and rate your performance. Expect hard speeches from the security council, or ones that present the most difficulty for your language. For example, for an English booth, expect that you will have a speech with highly accented French giving lots of numbers. At the end of the process, if you pass, you will be put on a list where the person with the highest score will be offered the first job available, the second highest rating will be offered the next job, etc. It can take a while for a candidate to be offered a job, due to placement on the list or hiring freezes. You also don't always get a choice as to where you are offered a position.

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answered 16 Dec '15, 05:46

JuliaP's gravatar image


Hi Julia,

Thank you very much for your answer. It is exactly what I was looking for. Do you know wether it is necessary to pass the freelance test first in order to be able to apply for the LCE?

(17 Dec '15, 13:54) David

I am sorry. I don't know. They changed some of their test acceptance criteria - for example, in the past they didn't require a diploma from an interpreting school, but now they do require it - so I can't answer. You should find out who the head of your language booth is in the UN agency where you would like to test and ask them.

(17 Dec '15, 14:09) JuliaP

Pas d'accréditation requise pour passer le concours à ma connaissance.

The Examinations are open to qualified applicants who:

Have the language in which the examination is held as their main language. Please note that "main language" refers to the language in which the candidate is best able to work as a specialist. This may be their mother tongue, or another language in which they have become fluent.

Have perfect command of the language in which the examination is held AND excellent knowledge of at least one of the other five official languages of the United Nations (except posts in the German translation service at Headquarters, which require a perfect command of German).

Meet all the requirements (including the educational requirements) set out for the language examination for which they are applying.

Are 56 years old or younger at the end of the examination year. This requirement is based on the Organization’s need to recruit staff who can serve for a reasonable period of time during which they will have the opportunity to progress through the Organization’s career structure before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 years;

Have good computer and word-processing skills.

Voir aussi :

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answered 17 Dec '15, 17:01

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 17 Dec '15, 17:03

Thank you very much, Gaspar!

(18 Dec '15, 04:06) David
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question asked: 16 Dec '15, 03:54

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