Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Anne Lafeber

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 translation modules at Universidad de las Américas - Puebla, in Mexico and Université de Genève, in Switzerland. Since 2008 she has been a full-time staff translator of the United Nations Secretariat and is currently serving as a reviser in the English Translation Service at United Nations Headquarters in New York, where she is also involved in recruitment testing and outreach to universities.

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

Supervisors: Anthony Pym and Christopher Scott-Tennent

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.

Conference Presentations

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.

2013. Third UN-MoU Universities Conference, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, China, 22-24 April 2013. Presentations: "Designing recruitment tests for translators" and "How to (and not to) score translation tests".


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

2012. "Translation: the skill-set required.  Preliminary findings of a survey of translators and revisers working at inter-governmental organizations", Meta, 57-1, 108-13.

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.

2018. The Skills Required to Achieve Quality in Institutional Translation: The Views of EU and UN Revisers. In Institutional Translation for International Governance. London: Bloomsbury. 

Viva: June 20, 2012

Examining committee :
Dr. Dorothy Kelly (Universidad de Granada)
Dr. John Kearns (Trinity College)
Dr. Christopher Waddington (Universidad Pontificia Comillas)

External experts
Dr. Kaisa Koskinen (University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu)
Dr. Christina Schäffner (Aston University)

Doctoral Thesis here