Recruitment of interpreters at NATO

Candidates should possess good general knowledge, adapt easily and enjoy teamwork



The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is an intergovernmental organisation whose core purpose is the collective defence of its members by political and military means in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. The fundamental operating principle of the Alliance is the indivisibility of the security of its members. It was created in April 1949 when the North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington by 12 countries with the aim of bringing into being a common security system against a potential threat resulting from the policies and growing military capacity of the Soviet Union.

NATO today

After the demise of the Berlin Wall, the Alliance initiated a major adaptation and transformation process. The Strategic Concept adopted at the 1991 Rome Summit Meeting provided for a new approach that would include a streamlining of NATO's military command structure, major changes in its integrated forces and a role in crisis management and peacekeeping. Allied leaders also issued a Declaration establishing the evolving partnership and cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. At the 1997 Summit meeting in Madrid, the Alliance opened a brand new chapter in its relations with Russia as well as with the Ukraine, endorsed an "open door" policy on future accession, intensified the dialogue with the Mediterranean countries and renewed its support toward progress with respect to the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI). Lastly, at the Washington Summit in April 1999, NATO celebrated its 50th anniversary, updated its Strategic Concept, reaffirmed its commitment toward enlargement and welcomed its three latest members. Membership currently stands at 19.

For on-line information on the Alliance's historical highlights, current or planned events and job vacancies, check the NATO website at


NATO's Interpretation Section is part of the Conference Services, itself a component of the International Staff where nationals of all member nations may be employed. The Section currently totals 39 staff interpreters (25 have the L/4 grade). Official languages are English and French. However, Russian can be an asset as meetings with that language have become a regular occurrence. Over the last few years, the growing number of new bodies has resulted in a significant increase in the day-to-day workload, and freelance recruitment is definitely on the rise. Consecutive interpretation is seldom used.

Any applicant to a position as a staff interpreter at NATO must be a national from one of the member nations as well as a graduate from an acknowledged interpretation school, or he/she must show proof of several years' experience in interpretation. Candidates should possess good general knowledge, adapt easily, enjoy teamwork and be reasonably healthy. Working hours vary from day to day and are often unpredictable, but technical facilities are generally good. New Headquarters are to be built and completed by 2008. Meetings are often of a highly complex nature, whether dealing with political, military or technical subjects, and things are often made worse by the faltering pronunciation or syntax of non-native speakers of English or French. Keeping abreast of political and military developments in both languages is essential.

Mandatory requirements for a freelance or in-house recruitment include 1) undergoing an interpretation test, and 2) obtaining a security clearance, plus an interview with Management.

Interpretation tests are usually scheduled during slack periods, i.e. mid-July to late August, or close to the winter holiday season. The applicant first meets briefly with a jury of seasoned interpreters. Then the actual test begins, including sight translation, consecutive interpretation, and simultaneous interpretation, with a far greater emphasis on the latter. The test is very realistic and runs the gamut of NATO specialties, be it a budget committee debate, an operational report, the latest on European security policy or underwater search and rescue. Expect the ordeal to last approximately one hour and a half. After a short recess, the jury finally renders its verdict!

Shortly after completing the test, the successful applicant is requested (by mail) to fill in forms required for the security clearance investigation. The procedure may well take a full year and involves investigations in all countries where the applicant has resided. Recruitment can only become effective after the security clearance has been finalized.

Applications should be sent to the Head Interpreter (Room S-146, NATO, Boulevard Léopold III, 1110 Brussels, Belgium), or to the Head of Recruitment Services (Room I-236, ditto).

Recommended citation format:
NATO Staff Interpreters. "Recruitment of interpreters at NATO". July 2, 2002. Accessed February 28, 2020. <>.

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Francine CRONIN


Polite suggestion: perhaps 6-year old posts could now be deleted? Thanks.



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I just want to work wit NATO as an interpreter and translator. Languages I read/write: (Amharic, fluently; English, fluently; Tigringia, fluently).

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I also work as the BOSNIAN interpreter and would like to

know more about the oprtunites at NATo.

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Sandra Sundic


I am an ex-Yugoslavian lawyer and translator (English - Serbo-Croat and vice versa) and have been living in Brussels for the last 7 years - we as a family have a permanent residence permit and are in the process of obtaining Belgian citizenship. I have more than 15 years of extensive experience in translating and interpreting. I would be interested in working for NATO as a part-time translator. What are my chances and what would be the next step? Many thanks in advance! P.S. I would also like to point out that I am perfectly fluent in French and Czech.

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I am fluent in Bosnian and English language, computer literate and have a college degree.What are my chances at interpreting jobs in above languages, and do I need to fulfill any special certification requirements for the same?

Also, I am interested in email translation/response jobs. Please let me know of any offers that suit my level, considering the distance (MA,USA) location.

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Panagiota Kourou



my name is Panagiota. I am greek native speaker with fluent English and good command of French. I am interested in working as an intepreter for Nato, preferably in Greece or Belgium where I am currently resident. Are there any job offers for the moment?

Thanks in advance

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My name is Angelique and I am currently a postgraduate student in Interpreting and Translation. My working languages are Greek (mother tongue), Russian (mother tongue) English (fluent) and German. I have double citizenship, Greek/Russian. I would like to work for NATO. Do you think the fact that I was born in former USSR is a problem??? Thanks in advance, Angelique

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Bonjour, je suis un étudiant en linguistique à l'Université de Perpignan. Ayant une expérience professionnele à court terme au sein de nombreuses organisations privées, je m'intéresse à la traduction et l'interprétation. Je propose à al partie intéressée la possibilité de traduire de macédonien(ma langue maternelle) en français et vice-versa. Ce qui pourrait aider au chercheur d'un traducteur de ce type est le fait que je suis étudiant en linguistique française et je possède une certaine gamme d'atouts pour la traduction et l'interprétation, ce que je semble indispensable dnans un travail de ce type-là. Je pourrais, alors, m'integrer dans les activités de l'OTAN, sachant qu'elle a de nombreuses missions dans la République de Macédoine actuellement. Je vous remercie de votre contact.


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sébastien desbiens



Mon nom est Sébastien Desbiens et je suis présentement basé à Québec, Canada. Je possède de solides bases en traduction de l'anglais et du russe vers le français (oral et écrit) et (seulement à l'oral) en serbo-croate et en Tchécoslovaque. J'aimerais avoir plus d'information pour faire application.


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Grace Lyla



My name is Grace Lyla Haggerty. I'm a Health and medical Intepreter(also a spanish teacher)in Texas.( Certified by the Texas Health Department)

I'll be moving to Moscow early 2003; I would like to know if there are jobs in this field in Moscow. (even as a volunteer). I'm originally from Colombia South America and a US citizen now.

Thank you for your time and help


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Ion Iatco



My name is Ion Iatcoand I live in Rep. of Moldova. I would like to work as a NATO Interpreter in English, Russian and Romanian languages.I have 2 years of expirience including high level consecutive translation.

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Vesna Milencovici


I have a degree in traslation and interpretation. Please tell me what would be my chances to co-work for NATO in this fields?

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Hallo, I'm Olga, live in Belgium. I am Russian mother tongue (coming from Moscow), my university education is teaching English. I speak French. Is there a need for Russian interpreters?

Have a nice day!

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Pretty Blonde


Cpt Jack M. de Kleine,

What do you mean by:

"The two restrictions for interpreters in NATO are:

1. AIIC membership"

Are you saying that if a person is a AIIC member, he/she can or...... can not be eligible to work as interpreter for NATO?

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Edwin Hidalgo


My name is Edwin, I´m 33 y.o. I live in Brazil, and besides being Brazilian, I´m Spanish too (double nationality). I have lived in Germany and nowadays I use to work as interpreter in São Paulo, Brazil. I work with the folowing languages:French, Spanish, German and Portuguese, which is my mother language. Does anyone have a clue for an interpreter who lives in South America like me of how to start in this job? With whom should I talk first?

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I am looking for a job offer as a consecutive interpreter, and eventually I will be willing to work as a simultaneous interpreter. I have experience in Interpretation of Spanish, English and French.

Please let me know for any openings,and let me know to whom I have to send my resume.

Thank you,

Sandra M.

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Hi, My name is Irena and I worked for NATO for about four years in Bosnia-Herzegovina as language assistant. I am interested if there are any job opportunities for online translations in regards to Croatian-English language?

I am currently going to school but I would like to continue working in this field. If there are any opportunities please let me know.

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certamente !! senza dubbio, il russo sara molto usato tra qualche anno... la lingua russa, indubbiamente è la più usata nei paesi del ex-CEI par conséquent il est évident qu'elle reste encore aujourd'hui une franca lingua pour toute la zone de l'ex pacte de Varsovie... Moreover the UE can't ignore the future economic power of the Russia in the next few years...

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Cpt Jack M. de Kleine


Working presently as Chief Interpretation Branch of the NATO School SHAPE in Oberammergau(GE), I would like to add the following:

NATO has "on-staff" and Freelance interpreters working almost all over Europe.

NATO has numerous Headquarters and some international training facilities where interpreters are being used. English is of course the leading language, but for instance the NATO School provides a job to three (on-staff) interpreters for courses translated into Russian during 35 weeks annually and approx. 10 weeks into Serbo-Croatian.

The two restrictions for interpreters in NATO are:

1. AIIC membership

2. A security clearance provided by NATO. This security clearance can be a problem when the applicant is born in a non-NATO country.

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Mirjana Goforth


Is there a need for serbian and bosnian interpreters? How do you find out and who can you contact? Your information is appriciated.

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I would be very glad to know how many Russian-speaking interpreters are currently employed.

I am Italian mother tongue and I work on the Italian market with English, Russian and French.

What working possibilities do I have at NATO?

Is the use of Russian going to further increase over the next few years?

Thank you.

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maureen friedman


you make no mention of where nato installations are based. this would be useful in order to know which professional domiciles may interest nato.

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