Universitat Rovira i Virgili

PhD research

Anne Lafeber

Translation at inter-governmental organizations: the set of skills and knowledge required and the implications for recruitment testing

Supervisors: Anthony Pym, Christopher Scott-Tennent

Anne Lafeber holds a B.A./M.A. from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and a Diploma in Interpreting from Centro de Estudios de Traducción e Interpretación, Caracas, Venezuela. She has over twenty years' experience working as a translator and reviser, mainly in Latin America. She also taught for several years at Universidad de las Américas - Puebla, in Mexico.  Since 2008 she has been a full-time staff translator of the United Nations Secretariat and she is currently serving at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Research summary

This study aims to investigate the relative importance of the skills and knowledge required by translators at inter-governmental organizations from the perspective of recruitment testing. On the basis of a survey conducted of translators and revisers at various organizations, specific skills-knowledge hierarchies required at individual organizations are drawn up. Current testing practice is examined in the light of the hierarchies to identify adjustments that could be made to help organizations select the candidates with the profile they need. To examine the implications of the findings further, the performance of a group of translators on a traditional recruitment test is compared with their performance on a "profile-adapted" test that is designed on the basis of measurement theory. The findings also have implications for translator training.

Thesis defended June 20, 2012 for the degree of Doctor Europeus cum laude.

External evaluators: Kaisa Koskinen, Christina Schäffner

Internal evaluation committee: Dorothy Kelly, Christopher Waddington, John Kearns

Doctoral thesis here

Publications derived from PhD research

2013. The search for (the right) translators: Recruitment testing at international organizations. Lambert Academic Publishing.

2010. Translating for International Organizations: the Skills and Knowledge Required. Preliminary findings of the survey conducted among the IAMLADP Community in March 2010. IAMLADP. Restricted document.

2010. Results of the survey on the testing of translators at international organizations. IAMLADP:

2012. "Translation: the skill-set required.  Preliminary findings of a survey of translators and revisers working at inter-governmental organizations", Meta, special issue, due to be published in March 2012.

Conference participations

2011. OPTIMALE Annual Conference. Brussels. Participation in the panel of experts and representatives of the translation professions commenting on the findings of the survey of competence requirements.

2012. Second UN-MoU Universities Conference, Université de Mons, Belgium, 3-4 May 2012. Presentation of a paper on the skills and knowledge that United Nations translators need to have.

2012. I Congreso internacional sobre investigación en Didáctica de la traducción/ VIII Congreso internacional de Traducción del Departament de Traducció i d'Interpretació, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 21-22 June 2012. Presentation of a paper on the ideal candidate profile for translators at intergovernmental organizations.

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