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Languages at MI5

Whether spoken by millions or whispered by a few, we know the power of language. MI5 needs people who can speak, understand and listen to a wide range of languages and dialects. The ability to work in one or more language is a vital skill which helps us in our daily efforts to keep the country safe. As a Foreign or English Language Analyst you will be listening to and analysing a wide range of audio material which will assist and support our teams of investigators. Not only do our Foreign Language Analysts listen, translate and analyse information, they also provide expert insight into a country’s culture, political landscape and history.


As a flexible hours linguist you will use your language skills to provide audio transcription and translation to support investigations across all three security and intelligence agencies.

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English Language Analysts

Our English Language Analysts analyse telephone conversations and eavesdropping products intercepted under warrant for some of MI5’s highest priority investigations. You will spend the majority of your time listening to audio material, picking out the essential information that will help our investigative and operational partners.

Russian Language Intelligence Analysts

Our Russian Language Intelligence Analysts work in support of our investigations. Using their language skills they provide intelligence insights working at the core of our operational teams.

Foreign Language Analysts

Our Foreign Language Analysts use their language skills to provide intelligence insights to deliver clear analysis which assists in driving forward investigations. They do this by seeking out vital clues in foreign language material and making it accessible and understandable to others.

Speech Technologist

Our Speech Technicians identify, plan and conduct research on cutting-edge technology projects relating to speech processing and analysis. They work at the forefront of a fast-evolving field alongside our partners developing new capabilities to support the work of our audio analysis and investigations.

Mandarin Language Intelligence Analysts

Our Mandarin Language Intelligence Analysts work in support of our investigations. Using their language skills they provide intelligence insights working at the core of our operational teams. Along with other key skills, candidates for the Mandarin Language Intelligence Analyst role need to be able to demonstrate judgment, language proficiency and cultural knowledge. We assess these skills at various stages of the recruitment process, including the language test.

Click on the audio clip below to listen to a sample conversation.

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I can’t imagine another role where I would use my language in such an interesting, fulfilling and unique way


A career at MI5 is like no other.  Not only is it rewarding and unique but the variety here is like no-where else.  It is this variety that means most people stay at MI5 as they are able to fulfil all their career ambitions here without ever having to leave.  We are also committed to rewarding the people who work for us and demonstrating our appreciation for their vital contribution by offering an excellent range of benefits.  And due to the nature of our work it means you can’t take it home with you, so when you leave the office you really do leave your work behind you, providing you with an excellent work-life balance. Whatever role you perform, you will be directly contributing to keeping the country safe.

Listening Challenge

English Language Analysts

There are few jobs more rewarding – or important – than these front-line intelligence roles. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, our team of English Language Analysts listen to lawfully intercepted telephone conversations and eavesdropping product, picking out essential information that will help us counter terrorism across the UK.

They come from a wide range of backgrounds – but they all have the ability to process information quickly and the adaptability to work in an operational environment where things change rapidly. They’re the kind of people who don’t miss a thing, who can listen for hours on end without losing concentration and stay calm under pressure.

We have developed a quiz that reflects the nature of the work of our English Language Analysts to enable you to assess your suitability for the role. Take this challenge to check your listening skills and ability to recall detail. 

We are currently in the process of developing a non-flash version of this quiz. If you do not have Adobe Flash Player installed, you can download a free copy  so that you can try our challenge now. Alternatively, our updated version which will be online soon.



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