Chief, Arabic Translation Unit

UN ECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Skill Required:, Media and Communication
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
7th October, 2020

Job Description

The mission will be guided by ECA’s five new strategic directions which are:

Advancing ECA’s position as a premier knowledge institution that builds on its unique position and privilege to bring global solutions to the continent’s problems and take local solution to the continent; developing macroeconomic and structural policy options to accelerate economic diversification and job creation; designing and implementing innovative financing models for infrastructure, and for human, physical and social assets for a transforming Africa; contributing solutions to regional and transboundary challenges, with a focus on peace security and social inclusion as an important development nexus; advocating Africa’s position at the global level and developing regional responses as a contribution to global governance issues.

This position is located in the Publications, Conference and Knowledge Management Division (PCKMD), Publications and Conference Management Section (PCMS). Under the supervision of the Chief, Publications and Conference Management Section, the incumbent will be in charge of the Arabic Translation Unit (ATU).


Within delegated authority, the Arabic Reviser/Chief of the Arabic Translation Unit (ATU) will be responsible for the following duties:

  •  Advises the Chief, Publications and Conference Management Section on all issues dealing with Arabic translation at ECA;
  •  Plans medium-term activities of the Arabic Translation Unit and evaluates the temporary staff recruitment needs, in consultation with the Documents Planning and Monitoring Unit (DPMU);
  •  Plans and supervises the day-to-day activities of the Arabic Translation Unit;
  •  Ensures that deadlines are met for Arabic translation, in consultation and coordination within and outside the Section;
  •  Ensures that the ATU provides, within specified deadlines, quality, clear, concise, revised documents in conformity with United Nations standards;
  •  At the request of the DPMU, checks the quality of Arabic translations subcontracted by ECA in order to give an opinion on subcontracted Arabic translations in conformity with United Nations standards;
  •  Takes part in the recruitment of permanent staff for the Arabic Translation Unit and Text Processing Sub Unit;
  •  Acts as First Reporting Officer for the staff of the Arabic Translation Unit and Second Reporting Officer for the staff of the Text Processing Sub Unit (e-Performance);
  •  Supervises, counsels and assists translators/précis-writers and briefs them on the procedures and practices of the service, terminology and a broad range of subjects, as required;
  •  Promotes teamwork and communication among staff members of the Arabic Translation Unit and those of the Publications and Conference Management Section;
  •  As the Arabic reviser, the incumbent takes part in the Unit's translation activities. In this regard, he/she: Revises translations on a broad range of subjects dealt with by the Economic Commission for Africa; Translates without revision highly specialized or urgent texts. Within multilingual teams composed of all categories of language staff using several languages, the Head of the Arabic Translation Unit contributes to the linguistic servicing of major ECA conferences, by directing, in particular, the work of the Unit at ECA ministerial conferences and other major events held in or outside Addis Ababa; Carries out linguistic research and contributes to the building of terminology databases; Serves as a coordinator of e-LUNA and g-Text projects; Serves as officer-in-charge in the absence of the Chief of Section; Performs other related duties as required.



Ability to demonstrate good writing skills; high standard of accuracy, consistency and faithfulness to the spirit, style and nuances of the original text with a good grasp of the subject matter. Knowledge of a broad range of subjects dealt with by the United Nations, i.e., political, social, legal, economic, financial, administrative, scientific and technical. Ability to use all sources of references, consultation and information relevant to text at hand. Ability to work under pressure and maintain adequate speed and volume of output. Ability to show a high level of versatility, judgement and discretion. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.


Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals-Solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others-Places team agenda before personal agenda- Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position-Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Planning & Organizing:-

Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies-Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required-Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work-Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning-Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary-Uses time efficiently.


Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands.


  • Degree from a university or from an institution of equivalent status required. Must have passed the United Nations Language Competitive Examination for Arabic translators/précis-writers.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of experience in translation, précis-writing, self-revision and use of relevant computer software, electronic tools and databases, of which three preferably should have been within the United Nations.
  • Knowledge of a broad range of subjects dealt with by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (political, social, legal, economic, financial, administrative, scientific and technical) with a recognized specialization in a particular substantive, technical or administrative area is desirable.


  • A perfect command of Arabic, which must be the candidate's main language, an excellent knowledge of English and knowledge of another official language of the United Nations (preferably French), as tested by the United Nations Language Competitive Examination for Arabic, translators/précis-writers and demonstrated by performance in an Organization, are required.


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