Vladimir Parshikov, Chief of Russian Translation at the United Nations’ Geneva Office, recently visited Modern Languages & Cultures to deliver a presentation to staff and students on working as a translator for the United Nations. The presentation and the discussion that followed outlined the conditions of service for UN translators and provided helpful tips on the kinds of skills sought among suitable candidates, including advice on undertaking summer internships at one of the UN’s eight international offices.
Mr Parshivok – a lifelong Beatles fan – graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations in1978 and in 1979 completed the UN Language Training Course in Moscow, after which he was assigned to work as a junior translator at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. At the age of 25 he became the youngest senior translator in UN history.
UN translators and revisers are the cream of the crop in translation. If you decide to become a translator, why not aim for the top?
Speaking about the rewards of his, Mr Parshikov noted that a career at the United Nations is a constant challenge in itself. He argued that the key to success is continuous training and self-education, and there are lots of possibilities for this offered by the UN. In terms of advice to potential translators, Mr Parshikov urged aspiring linguists never to feel that they already know everything but instead they should always try to learn something new. This, he argued, would lead to rewards – both psychological and material. Conditions of service for international staff at the UN are at least comparable, and in most cases are superior, to any of the best-paid civil services in the world.
Mr Parshikov’s PowerPoint presentation on translating for the United Nations has been made available to staff and students at the University of Liverpool; it is available through the School’s Academic Lead for Outreach, Dr Şizen Yiacoup.