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Language Analyst

I studied languages at university and I was looking for somewhere that offered career prospects, as well as the opportunity to use my language skills on a regular basis on interesting topics. I was applying for several graduate jobs at the same time, so the length of the recruitment process made it quite difficult. But I knew it would be worth it and I didn’t find the vetting all that bad – it was very detailed, but the officer was good at putting me at ease, so it didn’t feel like an interrogation. My role’s given me the chance to develop my vocabulary in my specialist area. A lot of the time there’s very little context to what you’re working on, so you have to use your analytical skills as well as your language ability. I think that’s what surprised me the most – that my role goes much further than just doing translations. The amount of time you spend translating depends on what else is happening on any given day, week or month. So there’s a lot of variety and you have opportunities to learn new skills. And it’s interesting that I’m often working on material that’s behind the news and helping to improve the government’s understanding of my topic. It’s all about finding the most valuable material, which can be hard work, particularly if something needs to be translated within a certain amount of time. But it’s a very collaborative workplace, so most of the time there’s someone prepared to help you. There’s also a good process of evaluating and improving your work. Once you’ve done a translation, someone will go through it with you, pick up on areas you’ve missed and offer suggestions for improvements. I’ve also had training in some of the more technical aspects of the job which were new to me. This reflects the emphasis here on quality over quantity.

Departments and Roles at GCHQ