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Head of Languages & Publications

Requisition ID:  20748
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Open-ended contract

What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and, at the same time, promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.


Purpose of the position


The ICRC has a mandate to protect and assist the victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to promote the faithful application of international humanitarian law. As part of the Communication's division based in Headquarters, the Language and Publication team (LINPUB) contributes to this mandate by enhancing communication through clear and consistent language and the production of quality publications appropriate for a wide range of target groups. Documents and publications in key languages must meet a high standard in order to support the ICRC's humanitarian work and maintain its good reputation around the world.

The head of LINPUB reports to the head of the Global Communication Support (GCS) unit at HQ. The GCS unit is a network of communication experts which also includes six Regional Communication Centres (RCCs) based in different regions. The head of LINPUB will work closely with the Head of GCS to further build a coherent, relevant and professional team of experts to help enhance ICRC communications at local, regional and HQ levels – as part of a wider communication team. When required, and in close collaboration with the Head of GCS, the Head of LINPUB will develop strategies, plans and processes to further improve the impact of the expertise, products and services offered to both HQ and delegations.


Main duties and responsibilities


In consultation with the head of GCS:

  • Implement and, if necessary, adapt the ICRC's Language and Publication Policy.
  • Adapt and review the Language and Publication Services strategy to articulate a global service orientation.
  • Manage, monitor and report on budget for translation and publication services (approx. 2M) in line with ICRC financial rules.
  • Provide clear strategic orientations and priorities for action.
  • Follow external developments in language and production/publication services and apply them to ICRC's work when appropriate.


Main duties and responsibilities


In charge of a team that delivers language and publication services, which include but are not limited to:


  • Translating, editing and proofreading of a wide range of documents.
  • Managing translation requests with internal clients and coordinating them through online tool (LINGO)
  • Working with the RCCs and delegations to create synergies and optimize translation services.
  • Managing and developing tools (incl. terminology, style guide) and IT solutions to support translation service delivery and monitor futures trends (AI etc) which could be implemented at the ICRC.
  • Organizing interpreting services (external suppliers) upon request for conferences, meetings etc.
  • Monitoring the performance of agencies.



  • Coordinating the production (from design to delivery) of print/PDF publications and other communication material, on behalf of all HQ units and based on the annual production book.
  • Managing and implement the HQ annual production book and related budget.
  • Coordinating the Field Production Books for all print/PDF/promotional products with RCCs and if required with delegations.
  • Liaising with internal clients and external suppliers during the production process.
  • Monitoring the performance of the external suppliers and reporting monthly.
  • Managing corporate visual identity standards and guidelines and ensuring global adherence. 
  • Manage the ICRC eshop for publications with the external supplier, update the online shop tool when required and monitor/report on stock, value and sales.

NB: in-house languages at HQ are English, French, Arabic.


People management responsibilities


  • Manage LINPUB staff in conformity with the ICRC's People Leadership and Management principles.
  • Lead and motivate the team (14) in the context of change and development of a global service orientation.
  • Establish clear objectives and budgets during the annual planning process (PfR) and ensure their efficient implementation; actively monitor spending to keep within the budgetary limits established.
  • Manage and develop the network of freelance translators and agencies.
  • Manage an effective outsourcing mechanism with production supplier/s.
  • Ensure continued learning and development within the team.
  • Liaise with relevant Regional Communication Centers (RCCs) and delegations’ language and publication teams, foster strong collaboration, and ensure smooth workflow and delivery of service.




  • Internally, interacts with language and publications teams at regional communication centres and delegations, communication teams at HQ and all HQ units that may require LINPUB services.
  • Externally, interacts with freelance translators/interpreters, agencies, publications suppliers, digital suppliers; and with counterparts in international organizations, to share and exchange information on trends in language and publication services.

Education and experience required


  • University degree in language, communication or business management
  • 12 years’ relevant professional experience (incl. strategic planning, budget and project management); prior experience at the ICRC or other humanitarian/aid organizations will be a strong asset.
  • Minimum 8 years’ experience in managing a team 
  • Good knowledge of translation and good knowledge on InDesign software is a real plus.
  • Professional experience in a production management role or environment.
  • Strong knowledge in language service delivery and production processes of publications (graphic design, print)
  • Excellent command in English and French, additional languages (Arab or Spanish for example) an asset.
  • Excellent computer knowledge (MS Office and communication tools).
  • Good knowledge of translation and InDesign softwares.
  • Experience of managing a structure providing a range of services an asset. 


Desired profile and skills


  • Proven leadership skills and confirmed management capacity.
  • Ability to motivate a team and foster collaboration.
  • Proven ability to manage change.
  • Strong analytical and organizational skills.
  • A service and solution-oriented approach.
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines and work under pressure.
  • Ease with networking and relationship-building.


Additional information


  • Location: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Type of contract: Open-ended
  • Duration of assignment: 48 months 
  • Activity rate: 100%
  • Estimated start date: March 2023
  • Recruiter: Diara Niang
  • Application deadline: Wednesday 8th of February 2023

Are you ready to explore the next chapter of your career? Apply now!

The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates.
We are an equal-opportunity employer and value diversity at our institution. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process and to perform crucial job functions. Please reach out to us to request accommodation.