MI5 / MI6 / GCHQ
Locations: London, Cheltenham and Manchester
£32,092 – £38,027 (dependent on location)
A word to the wise.
MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are the UK’s Intelligence Services. MI5 protects our national security. MI6 work overseas to gather vital intelligence. GCHQ are a cyber agency using cutting-edge technology. Together, we keep the UK safe from threats including terrorism, espionage, organised crime and cyber-attacks. As a Mandarin Linguist, you’ll deliver impact across our missions – and work within a supportive and inclusive environment that allows everyone to thrive.
You’ll be at the heart of an operational team, translating unique material and providing valuable insights. Analysing Mandarin language material, you’ll seek out important information that influences UK government policy and decision making. And, you’ll ensure that material is accessible and understandable to others. It’s truly rewarding work where you’ll draw on your judgement, people skills and linguistic and cultural expertise to support real operations.
At MI5 and MI6, you’ll perform core language analysis, contribute to investigations, and develop a career in an area that most interests you, whether that’s assessments, investigations or agent running. At GCHQ, you’ll act as the first line of assessment, triaging Mandarin language material, identifying intelligence and shaping operations and policies.
Whichever agency you work for, we’ll invest in you. We value and nurture talent, so you’ll receive a structured, comprehensive training and development package in language, analysis, and communications technology – as well as allowances to reward your capability in meeting business needs. Plus, you’ll have a mentor from day one, and additional training and guidance from within your team.
We’re looking for people who’ve learned Mandarin to a high standard, equivalent to at least degree or C1 level. This’ll be supported by your knowledge of Chinese culture, history, politics, ideology and culture, and your ability to comfortably translate written and audio materials. As part of the recruitment process, you’ll sit a Mandarin practice test to assess your suitability for a role at one of our agencies.
Your work will be incredibly important, but you’ll never shoulder the responsibility alone. Ours is a friendly, encouraging culture where colleagues support each other. Whichever agency you join, you’ll be part of a community of dedicated, talented language specialists committed to making a difference.
To apply, please visit our website
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 websites:
To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You can apply at the age of 17 years, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday. Full eligibility details can be found on our website(s):