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Mandarin Language Opportunities

Contract Type
Defence & Security
Up to £31,981 depending on allowances
Expiry Date
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.

Job Description

The roles


We are looking for Mandarin linguists for roles that will go well beyond translation and transcription. It takes knowledge of the culture, history, politics and ideology to fully understand the original idea. And if you can do that, you can enable MI5, MI6 or GCHQ to make the right choices to help safeguard national security.

It’s genuinely interesting work that will test your judgement, your people skills and your linguistic ability every day.


The agencies


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 profile


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. To find out further information about their work and to apply, please visit the website via the Apply button.

To apply, you must be a born or naturalised British citizen. 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.