Job Title: Interpreter (Creole/Spanish) – 2 positions Vacancy Notice: VN-061-20-MEX Position Number 061-20
Location: Tapachula Position Grade: LICA-6 Closing Date: 2020-03-29
Organizational Context

The current drivers of forced displacement in North of Central America (NCA) remain in place. Figures of asylum seekers for the first half are more than triple the numbers in the same period of 2018 and Mexico is projected to be one of the top 10 receiving countries for asylum claims in 2019. In Mexico, UNHCR is working with and supporting the Government and other actors to build a stronger asylum system that allows refugees to fully exercise their human rights, from the moment of entry into Mexico, to when a durable solution is found.

An increasing number of Central Americans are crossing Mexico’s southern border in significant numbers to seek protection. Due to a lack of information, detention policies, the limited number of locations with COMAR presence as well as inadequate reception arrangements, many people with international protection needs still attempt to make the dangerous journey north to the United States without making an asylum claim in Mexico. Progress has been achieved in building the asylum system and in improving reception arrangements, as well as in the provision of local integration opportunities, but increased numbers of asylum-seekers keep putting additional strain on the existing reception conditions.

With the recent statements from the Mexican government to increase the presence of the national guard along the southern border as well as increasing the detention of migrants who try to move towards the northern parts of Mexico, UNHCR is concerned that persons in need of international protection will suffer detention in greater number than what has previously been the case. Even before the last change in the policy, a drastic increase has been observed in the number of persons seeking asylum.

Interpreters are essential to UNHCR in fulfilling its core mandate functions, including registration, refugee status determination, resettlement, and counselling, which, in many cases, also involves sensitive issues related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Thus, interpreters perform a key role in many UNHCR offices.  The role of the Interpreter is to assist in this process by providing a channel for communication. It is an important role that must be accomplished with a high degree of professionalism.


The interpreter will be working under the overall supervision of the Head of Office and the Protection Team.  She/He may be required to work at UNHCR premises in Tapachula and perform the services remotely through phone or video conference in order to assist UNHCR staff in interpreting inverviews, whenever necessary. The support has been extended to Tenosique, including providing translation services for COMAR in both locations. 

These are some of the encounters in which UNHCR officials meet with persons of concern to UNHCR and might need the help of an interpreter: 
  • Registration procedures: when the personal information of refugees, internally displaced persons or returnees are recorded 
  • Refugee status determination: when an interview is conducted with an asylum-seeker to determine whether she/he meets the criteria of the refugee definition 
  • Resettlement interviews: when an interview is conducted with a refugee for determining his/her needs to be resettled to a third country 
  • Monitoring: when UNHCR collects information relating to the protection, rights and well-being of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons through interviews 
  • Participatory Assessment: when a structured dialogue is conducted with women, girls, boys and men of concern to UNHCR, in order to gather accurate information on the specific protection risks they face and underlying causes, to understand their capacities, and to hear their proposed solutions 
  • Counselling sessions and/or medical interviews: when informed and professional advice on private and/or illness-related matters is made available to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR 
  • Screening survivors of violence or torture: when more information on psychological and/or physical consequences of torture is sought.


UNHCR Staff working with the interpreter will evaluate his performance on regular basis; in particular, his job performance and adherence to professional standards. Staff members will fill out the evaluation report form, which will be used for consideration of contract extensions in the future.

Commitment to continuous learning: Following the recruitment, interpreters shall be provided with an induction training which should include, among other things, basic information on UNHCR specialized terminology (see the UNHCR Thesaurus), content of their work, clarification of their role, content of the UNHCR Code of Conduct, ST/SGB/2003/13 and the Undertaking of Confidentiality and Impartiality, security briefing, and, if necessary, some basic interpretation training. For the latter the UNHCR Training module “Interpreting in a Refugee Context” should be utilized.

Definition of the Final Product (i.e., survey completed, data collected, workshop conducted, research documents produced, etc.):

Oral interpretation and translation of documents as required.






Essential Minimum Qualifications and Experience

a. Education

  • Studies in Languages, Social Sciences, Politics, Economics, Human Rights, Languages, or any other related field. 
  • Certification of interpretation/translator skills in an asset; a perfect command of the Creole language.

b. Work Experience

  • 4 years of relevant experience, ideally on interpretation functions.

Desirable Qualifications & Competencies



  • Professionalism: ability to demonstrate a high level of concertation; split-second accuracy; ability to work under continuous stress and deliver clear interpretation on an exceedingly broad range of subjects; 
  • Ability to work in a sensitive environment interpreting/translation refugee specific terminology.
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empowering and building trust
  • Ability to work well under pressure and deliver quality output in a most time-efficient manner. 
  • Strictly complies with the UNHCR Code of Conduct.


If you wish to be considered for this vacancy, please submit your application on by 29 March 2020.
Shortlisted candidates will be required to sit for a test. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified. No late applications will be accepted. 

UNHCR is committed to diversity and welcomes applications from qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, colour or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. 

UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, training or any other fees). 

Si usted desea ser considerado para esta vacante, favor enviar su aplicación a más tardar el 29 de marzo de 2020. 

Se aplicará un examen escrito a las personas preseleccionadas. Únicamente las personas preseleccionadas serán contactadas. No se aceptarán aplicaciones tardías. 

El ACNUR está comprometido con la diversidad y acepta solicitudes de candidatos calificados, independientemente de su género, discapacidad, estado civil, raza, color, origen étnico y nacional, religión o creencias, y orientación sexual. 

Tome nota que el ACNUR no cobrará ningún cargo en ninguna de las fases del proceso de reclutamiento y selección. 

ACNUR no prevé ningún apoyo relacionado a permisos de trabajo en México. Los candidatos expatriados son bienvenidos, pero deben contar con la residencia permanente.

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