Persian Language Specialist Ref.2977

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Central London, Cheltenham, Manchester
Full-time and part-time opportunities (flexible working hours available)
£34,663 - £42,780

About Us

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are the UK’s Intelligence Services. We work together to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from various threats at home, overseas and online, including cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. Working across our vital missions, you’ll deliver impact at the heart of national security, all within a supportive and inclusive environment that allows everyone to thrive.

The Role

As a Persian Language Specialist, you’ll bring your linguistic expertise to our mission. Whether you’re based at MI5, MI6 or GCHQ, you’ll play a key role in helping operational teams gather and understand intelligence from foreign language materials. You’ll be a subject matter expert, able to identify the nuances within the language and deliver accurate, clear translations that meet mission requirements. This role goes beyond translation and transcription, so you’ll enjoy varied, and unique work that enables the UK Intelligence Agencies to safeguard national security.

You’ll be part of a multi-disciplinary team within the wider context of national intelligence delivery, helping to shape and progress our efforts to make operational impact where it counts most. As an expert in applied language use, you’ll use your cultural knowledge alongside your linguistic skills to provide critical insights, ensuring intelligence is understood by our operational teams.

At MI5 and MI6, you’ll need to be competent in reading, writing, speaking and listening to Persian, as you’ll be translating, transcribing and interpreting a range of materials, carrying out research and sharing your findings. This will support the operational work you do that includes targeting, casework, training or operational planning and management. Collaboration is key, as you share your knowledge and contribute to language profession initiatives as well as professional standards of best practice. You will also use your basic analysis skills alongside your language work.

At GCHQ, you’ll combine your language, technical and analytical skills to piece together snippets of information collected from a variety of digital communication sources. You’ll work closely with your operational teams as well as other governmental departments, identifying reportable intelligence, that will progress operations, as well as shape and influence government policy.

About You

You don’t need any experience to join MI5, MI6 or GCHQ, just active and passive language skills, excellent written English and a good knowledge of Iranian culture, history, religion and politics. Your language skills could come from growing up in a multi-lingual family, undergoing language training in the military or studying Persian to a high level elsewhere, for example at university. A hearing test may be carried out during the process, the result of which will be considered alongside the role requirements on a case-by-case basis. You’ll require a high level of Persian knowledge (broadly equivalent to C1 on the CEFR scale, available online) and great cultural, historical, religious and political expertise

Having an interest in technologies will support you when working at GCHQ. Working as part of a diverse team with a variety of specialist technical expertise, you’ll develop and apply analytical skills and an understanding of communications technologies to build up the intelligence picture. Whichever Agency you join, we’re looking for problem solvers with interpersonal skills and exceptional attention to detail. Plus, you’ll be just as comfortable working independently as you are working collaboratively within a team.

Training and Development

At MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, we’re committed to ensuring you have the support and guidance you need to build a rewarding career at the heart of national security. From language events and workshops, through to acquiring professional qualifications, the strong learning culture at all three Agencies will continuously develop you, your knowledge and skills.

As part of the selection process for MI5 and MI6, we’ll identify specific areas for development and tailor a training plan to meet your needs. When you join, you’ll have an induction and be assigned a buddy from the same language area to help you settle in and a profession head to oversee your career interests. You’ll receive training in applied skills such as interpretation, as well as gaining access to a range of language and non-language training opportunities, including our corporate Academy.

GCHQ has an equally strong development offering. Working alongside experienced linguists, you’ll be learning every day from a community of language experts who’ll share their knowledge and encourage your contributions. As well as being assigned a buddy on day one, you’ll undertake a comprehensive induction package that spans multiple areas of the business to see how P language is used. Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) qualifications can be attained, and you’ll also have opportunities to upskill which in turn will attract financial rewards.

Rewards and Benefits

At GCHQ you’ll receive a starting salary of £34,663.  Upon successful completion of the 6–month probationary period, you’ll be eligible for an additional payment of £3,000 per annum in recognition of your language skill. 

At MI6 and MI5, you’ll receive a starting salary of £37,281 - £42,780 (plus the possibility to qualify for additional language allowances once in role).

Other benefits include:

  • 25 Days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays(which at GCHQ can be used on dates that best suit you)
  • Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • Excellent pension scheme
  • Cycle to work scheme(at some locations)
  • Facilities such as a gym, restaurant and on-site coffee bars (at some locations)
  • Paid parental and adoption leave. 

Equal Opportunities

At MI5, MI6 and GCHQ diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Find out more about our culture, working environment and diversity on our website: 

We’re Disability Confident 

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme.  This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain, and develop disabled people.  Being Disability Confident, we aim to offer a person-to-person interview to any candidate who self-identifies as disabled and meets the essential criteria for the role.  This is our “offer of interview” (OOI)” To secure an interview for this vacancy, the essential criteria (in order of application process) are:

  • A strong motivation for applying to work for the UK Intelligence Agencies and this particular role – assessed at application sift
  • A demonstrable high level of Persian Language skills/knowledge by achieving a pass in our language tests
  • On successful completion of these stages, you will be invited to an interview. This is your offer of interview.

What to Expect

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:

  • Initial application and eligibility sift 
  • In-person language tests in London
  • In-person interview and analysis test in Cheltenham or London

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next.  You application may take around 6 – 9 months to process including vetting, so we advise you to continue any current employment until you’ve received your final job offer. You may also be required to undergo a hearing test for this role. We regret that we are unable to reimburse travel expenses.

Before You Apply 

To work at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality. You can read our full eligibility criteria

This role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community undertakes. You can find out more about the vetting process.

Please note we have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage.

The MI6 and MI5 role is based in London, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application. An interest-free loan via our benevolent fund is available to assist with relocating into privately rented accommodation to take up the offer of employment. Working from home will not be possible for this role.

The GCHQ role is based in Cheltenham or Manchester, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application, as we do not offer relocation costs.

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.

Right to Withdraw Statement:  

Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received. Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.  

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.