Infographic: How the United Nations Manages Language Barriers

October 24, 2016   -   Posted by Danielle Columbo

To recognize United Nations Day, we've highlighted some interesting facts revolving around language, interpretation, translation and the United Nations (UN). Check out the infographic below:

A brief background on United Nations Day:

Seventy-one years ago, the United Nations came into existence, and since it's inception, has worked to confront issues of humanity, which include peace and security, human rights, gender equality, governance and more.

The purpose of United Nations Day is to educate individuals around the world on the United Nation's goals and achievements, and to gain public support for the UN's work. Today, the United Nations aim is to shed light on the 17 sustainable development goals, which is part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Click here to view the17 goals, as well as the actions that you can take to help the UN achieve them. 



Click the infographic to enlarge and download. 

Infographic Transcript:

How the United Nations Deals with Language Barriers

The current official and working languages of the United Nations are:
Spanish, Arabic, French, English, Russian and Chinese

How does the UN manage all of these languages?
Speakers at the United Nations usually deliver speeches in one of the six official languages. Sometimes, to make a political statement or because circumstances require it, speakers don’t use one of these official languages. When this occurs, the speaker brings his own interpreter who delivers the message in one of the official languages (usually English or French). The speech can then be interpreted into the rest of the six official languages of the UN.

What’s required to be a UN linguist?
A United Nations guide for would-be language specialists describes a good translator in this way:
  1. "Knows techniques for coping with a huge variety of difficult situations"
  2. "Has a sense of style"
  3. "Has iron nerves, does not panic"
  4. "Can keep up with a rapid speaker"
Did you know?
The United Nations' document, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds the world record for being the most translated text. It's been translated into 370 languages and dialects. 


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