Russian Language Opportunities Ref. 114

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Cheltenham, London
Up to £30,000 depending language allowance
The roles

MI5 Russian Intelligence Analyst

As a Russian intelligence analyst at MI5, you’ll be a core member of the investigative team. Your work will involve translating a wide variety of challenging audio and textual material from Russian into English. You’ll listen to Russian language telephone calls and work with written documents intercepted under warrant, and your translations and analysis will feed directly into the team’s investigations. Your excellent Russian language comprehension will enable us to make the right choices to help safeguard national security.

Using your specialist Russian language skills and your knowledge of Russia’s cultural affairs, history, politics, ideology and economy, you will add real understanding to the intelligence that has been gathered and deliver clear analysis in a variety of ways. Your work will enable us to take a well-informed view of potential threats to national security, including terrorism and espionage. Every day you’ll be exposed to new subtleties and nuances in the Russian language, new terminology, new political, cultural and social differences.

Your linguistic skills and cultural awareness will be invaluable as you’ll be asked to contribute to team discussions on how to progress investigations. If you would like to develop as a Russian investigator, then a few years down the line you’ll have the opportunity to take our internal investigative assessment centre. If you are successful, you could go on to develop as an investigative officer within the team, drawing upon your Russian language skills and wider knowledge of Russian culture and current affairs. You’ll help piece together intelligence and make informed decisions on a daily basis that will help to protect national security.

MI6 Russian Language Specialist

As a Russian language specialist in the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), your language skills will make a key contribution to the work of the operational team you’ll be embedded in. The work is both fascinating and rewarding: fascinating as you will be dealing with subjects that lie at the heart of world events; and rewarding as you will be the person making intelligence accessible to people throughout MI6.

As well as translating from both written and spoken sources, which will initially be the core of your work, you will have the opportunity to get involved in interpreting, open source research and to use your expertise to help other government agencies. You will also have the opportunity to take on more direct operational work if you have the desire and aptitude and, although the larger part of your career is likely to be spent in London, there are opportunities to work overseas.

GCHQ Russian Language Analyst

GCHQ is at the cutting edge of technology and our Russian language analysts play a vital role which is complex and challenging! Your fluent Russian language skills are just the starting point - developing strong analytical skills is just as important as your desire to keep up to date with new tools and rapidly evolving communications technologies. Our Language Analysts work at the core of our operational teams, often helping to direct and drive forward projects and operations. An analytical and enquiring mind, sound judgement and attention to detail are all key skills for this role and you’ll be using your language to provide the bigger intelligence picture to GCHQ’s customers, often working with a range of fragmented information from a variety of sources. You’ll be chasing new leads and writing detailed reports using your specialist knowledge to add intelligence insights. Our reporting often influences Government policy and makes a real difference.

You will have considerable autonomy in organising your daily work, calling on technical experts where needed. You will be working in a modern, open plan working environment which encourages day to day collaboration. You’ll be supported by more experienced colleagues from the start and you’ll also have the opportunity to take part in further language training to keep building on your language skills.

GCHQ has a large language community and there are opportunities to progress to senior language roles which have greater responsibility. In addition, within our language community there is a wide diversity of roles, and you will be able to see which kind of role suits your individual skills and interests.

The skills

Whether you developed your Russian language skills at home as you were growing up, whilst living or working abroad or through academic study, you have a genuine passion for languages. You’ll thrive on the challenge of applying your Russian language skills on a daily basis to provide expert support to investigative officers.

The language tests on our website are indicative of the level of Russian you will need to be successful as a Russian linguist at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ. Your language ability will enable you, for example, to comfortably read newspaper articles and understand news broadcasts in Russian.

You’ll be able to translate from Russian into clear, well-drafted and balanced written reports in English, drawing out the relevant points from sometimes lengthy pieces of material. You’ll also be confident verbally briefing investigative and operational teams and other colleagues across the intelligence agencies.

Enthusiasm, flexibility and team-working are all important. You’ll have an analytical and enquiring mindset, sound judgment and good attention to detail. We will support your learning and development at every opportunity, through both internal and external Russian language training.

Recruitment process

First, we strongly advise you to check your suitability for the role. We have developed a test that reflects the nature of the work of Russian linguists at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ. The challenge will enable you to check your Russian language comprehension skills and ability to recall detail.

If you then wish to apply, the first thing we will ask you to do is complete our pre-screening questions to see if you meet our initial eligibility criteria. lf you do, we will then ask you to begin an application. You’ll need to create an online login. You can do this by providing your full name, email address and a memorable password. Once you have successfully created a personal account, you will be required to complete an online application form.

As well as basic biographical details and your education and employment history to date, you will need to provide details of your Russian language skills and any other languages you have learned. You will be asked how you learned the language, how you currently you use your language skills and to what standard you can speak, read and write these languages and dialects. You will also be asked about your interest in the Russian language and culture and what appeals to you about using Russian in your work.

On the application form you will be able to specify whether you wish to be considered for Russian vacancies in London or Cheltenham. At this stage, we cannot guarantee which agency you would join if you were to be successful, however we will explore this with you in the latter phases of the recruitment process and any other language skills you have may be taken into account at this stage.

Please note that if you have applied for a Russian vacancy at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ within the last 12 months and been unsuccessful at the language test stage, you will not be eligible to reapply for this role at this time.

Our recruitment team will complete an application sift to assess how far you meet the job specification. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a Russian language test in London to check whether or not you have the skills required to work as a Russian linguist within the intelligence agencies.

At the language test, we will assess your Russian language ability across a range of tasks. There is an emphasis on listening and reading comprehension.

Assuming you pass the Russian language test, you will then be asked to attend an assessment centre, which will include a face-to-face interview and other exercises. If you pass the assessment centre, you will be invited to attend further recruitment activities.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As part of our commitment to the "Positive About Disabled People scheme" we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the job vacancy for which they are applying. This is known as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS).

Along with the standard eligibility requirements for this post, your application will be assessed on how far you meet the job specification based on your application and your Russian language ability. On successful completion of this stage, you will be invited to the Russian language test, which is our guaranteed interview.

Please note that if you are unsuccessful at the language testing stage of your application, you will not be eligible to reapply for Russian language vacancies at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ within a 12-month period.


To be able to apply, you must meet our residency criteria. You must be a born or naturalised British citizen and one of your parents must be a British citizen or have substantial ties to the UK.

Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for eight out of the last ten years prior to application. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You will nonetheless be considered if you have, for example, served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government, studied abroad or lived overseas with your parents.

Due to vetting requirements you will need to be 18 years old, or above, to apply. Your application may take around nine months to process.

Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member, providing that they are British. You should also make them aware of the importance of discretion. You should not post on social media sites about your application or discuss it with anyone else at this stage. You will receive further guidance during the recruitment process.

We are committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect.


This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.