Mandarin Language Opportunities
Up to £31, 981 depending on allowances
Your knowledge of Mandarin could open up a fascinating career in intelligence. By joining MI5, MI6 or GCHQ, you can play your part in protecting the UK and its interests.
The UK’s intelligence agencies are looking for expert linguists, but these roles go well beyond translation and transcription.
Your cultural knowledge will add in-depth understanding to information that has been gathered and will also assist you in delivering clear analysis and presentations. Your insight will also feed directly into ongoing planning and decision-making. Playing an active role in directing projects and driving forward investigations, you’ll get to work at the heart of intelligence teams.
The challenge is to make material understandable to others, as you seek out vital clues in Mandarin language material. It’s genuinely interesting work that will test your judgement, your people skills and your linguistic ability every step of the way.
There are openings for Mandarin specialists at all three of the UK’s intelligence agencies.
MI5 is responsible for the domestic security of the UK – the work of linguists helps to identify and counter threats to the UK from terrorism, espionage and proliferation. MI6 works overseas to gather intelligence that helps protect the nation and its interests. GCHQ is focused on technology and cyber, collecting foreign intelligence which linguists translate and analyse to protect the UK from terrorism, hackers, espionage and organised crime.
Grow and develop
You'll be working alongside like-minded people from a variety of backgrounds in a culture with a strong focus on learning and development. You’ll be supported to enhance your linguistic skills further, for example by specialising in a specific dialect. Your all-round development will be promoted too.
Your language skills could come from growing up in a multi-lingual family, or you may have studied Mandarin to a high level. You certainly need a passion for the language and ability to translate its nuances into clear, well-drafted English.
Your linguistic skills need to be complemented by good knowledge of China's cultural affairs, history, politics, ideology and economy. You also need to combine an analytical, enquiring mind with strong powers of judgement and good people skills.
How to apply
All three agencies are recruiting. You can visit their websites to find out further information about their work and to apply.
Eligibility and discretion
To apply, you must be a born or naturalised British citizen and due to vetting requirements you will need to be at least 18 years old. Do not discuss your application with anyone, except your partner or a close family member, provided they are British. You should stress to them the importance of discretion.