Admission exams in international organisations: The United Nations’ Language Competitive Examination (LCE)

  • Lucia Ruiz Rosendo
    Faculté de traduction et d'interprétation, University of Geneva Lucia.Ruiz[at]
  • Marie Diur
    United Nations, Viena Chief, French Interpretation Section


In most cases, prior to being admitted into an international organisation as a conference interpreter, candidates need to be tested. The Language Competitive Examination (LCE) is the test that the United Nations organises to assess the level of proficiency of candidates and decide who possesses the necessary skills to work at the UN. Since 2001, an increasing number of examinations have been held to establish a roster from which to cover present and future vacancies. Despite the large number of applicants, very few of them actually pass. One reason might be that LCE speeches present specific challenges that candidates have to master beforehand in order to pass the examination. An analysis of LCE procedure was carried out to shed light on the main features of the LCE. The results show that UN topics, speed and accents are the main challenges that candidates must be aware of if they are to prepare appropriately. These findings are corroborated by a survey targeted at UN staff interpreters, who suggest that the challenge lies in the very modality tested at the LCE, which is simultaneous interpreting.
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Ruiz Rosendo, L., & Diur, M. (2017). Admission exams in international organisations: The United Nations’ Language Competitive Examination (LCE). CLINA Revista Interdisciplinaria De Traducción Interpretación Y Comunicación Intercultural, 3(2), 33–52.


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Author Biographies

Lucia Ruiz Rosendo

Faculté de traduction et d'interprétation, University of Geneva
Interpreting DepartmentAssistant professor

Marie Diur

United Nations, Viena Chief, French Interpretation Section