Project Lead Researcher

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Organization: Translators without Borders
Closing date: 13 Jan 2021

Contract length: 11 months

Hours: full-time
Location: home-based

Travel: 3 field trips of 1 month each; non-travel time will be home-based

Reporting to: Project Manager, with technical oversight from TWB’s Global Researcher

Application deadline: 13 January 2021

We offer in addition to salary:

  • an innovative work environment with a diverse and passionate team

  • the flexibility of home-based/remote work

  • accommodation and per diems when on deployment

  • annual leave and floating holidays

The Role

The Researcher will lead on the design and delivery of an organizational ethnography designed to identify system- and practice-level blockers and enablers of two-way communication in the languages of crisis-affected people within a prominent humanitarian agency. The Researcher will analyze the findings to provide evidence that will guide this and other partner organizations and will also support the development of TWB’s programs and advocacy efforts.

The Researcher will be responsible for designing, supporting and delivering mixed-methods research, remotely and in the course of field assessments in three crisis-affected countries. The research will take a ‘follow the thing’ approach at three organizational levels, starting at the global level with a survey, zooming in on selected regional and country offices for document review and key informant interviews, and finally narrowing in on the practice level in the three focus countries. The Researcher’s role will include engaging and supervising research assistants and interpreters during field work, writing reports for non-academic audiences, and liaising with various partners and constituents involved in the research process.

The Researcher will report to TWB’s Project Manager, with technical supervision from the Global Researcher and will work in close partnership with the TWB program, data and advocacy teams. Flexibility and the willingness to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial.


Research design

  • Develop mixed-methods research for a one-year research-led project, integrating qualitative and quantitative primary research and secondary research to deliver a rounded and in-depth analysis of system- and practice-related obstacles to two-way communication in the languages of crisis-affected people.

  • In collaboration with other members of TWB’s program and research teams, and in consultation with relevant partners, analyze findings as they emerge and adjust the research framework and tools as necessary to capture original insights and build a robust evidence base.

  • Design data collection tools and sampling frameworks for both qualitative and quantitative research activities.

  • Liaise with a wide range of organizations to discover and gather information that relates to the provision and effectiveness of language support.

Research delivery

  • Lead and conduct remote qualitative, quantitative and secondary research, collaborating with other team members to ensure that emerging results from each component inform the focus and implementation of the other components.

  • Lead field assessments in three humanitarian contexts, in collaboration with the Project Manager, including recruiting, training, and supervising research assistants and enumerators, and conducting and coordinating semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with humanitarian workers and affected populations. The locations of the field assessments are provisionally identified as being in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, and Sri Lanka.

  • Design and carry out quantitative comprehension research to field-test the effectiveness of translations of key concepts and of various written, audio, and video communication products.

  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data, leading and documenting a collegial rolling review of emerging findings and discussion of the implications both for humanitarian policy and practice and for the ongoing implementation of the research.


  • Provide regular internal updates on research advances and preliminary results

  • Produce research reports for external publication.

  • Produce evidence-based recommendations and guidelines related to communication and language to support other humanitarian agencies.

  • Produce and present findings in presentation format to various humanitarian agencies and donors.


The Researcher should be a creative self-starter with a strong sense of initiative and enthusiastic about the importance of increasing access to knowledge through language. The right candidate is an energetic team player who agrees with TWB´s core values and can work in field locations and virtually to collaborate with team members based throughout the world.


  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject (anthropology, social sciences, sociolinguistics)

  • 5+ years of social science research in development or humanitarian contexts

  • First-hand experience of humanitarian program implementation; experience of Communicating with Communities (CwC) programming a plus

  • Experience designing and implementing field-based research projects utilizing qualitative or mixed methodologies

  • Willingness to work in insecure environments required, experience of working in insecure environments a plus

  • Availability to deploy for three field assessments in humanitarian contexts for periods of a month or more, and flexibility to deploy potentially at short notice and manage logistical contingencies

  • Ability to communicate scientific data to communities, program staff, and partners in a simple and clear manner

  • Verbal and written fluency in English; strong written communication skills

  • Proficiency in one or more other languages relevant to humanitarian action essential; Rohingya or languages of Bangladesh, Central African Republic and Sri Lanka a plus

  • Ability to analyze and visualize quantitative data using Excel or Google Sheets

  • Experience and competency working with SPSS, ARCgis, Tableau, or other specialised software a plus

  • Experience designing and conducting multilingual surveys using Kobo DataCollect a plus

About Translators without Borders

Translators without Borders believes that everyone has a right to give and receive information in a language and format they understand. We work with nonprofit partners and a global community of language professionals to build local language translation capacity, and raise awareness of language barriers. Originally founded in 1993 in France (as Traducteurs sans Frontières), TWB translates millions of words of life-saving and life-changing information every year.

Core Values

Translators without Borders employees and volunteers are people who believe passionately about the value of this work and take personal responsibility for achieving the mission. Translators without Borders’ mission and organizational spirit embody the core values established in its strategic framework:

Excellence: As the leading voice for communicating humanitarian information in the right language, Translators without Borders is a leader in the translation industry and in the non-profit sector.

Integrity: Translators without Borders believes that every person, whether it is the people who we serve, our volunteers or our staff, has value, deserves respect and has inherent dignity.

Empowerment: Translators without Borders believes in using language to empower people around the world to control their own development and destiny.

Innovation: Translators without Borders recognizes and celebrates the power of innovation to address humanitarian and crisis issues around the world.

Sustainability: Translators without Borders recognizes that meeting our mission necessitates establishment and maintenance of a solid financial and organizational infrastructure.

Tolerance: Our staff and volunteers are highly knowledgeable and skilled; value each other, our partner and our recipients; create a supportive work environment; and, conduct themselves professionally at all times.

Translators without Borders is an equal-opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion, and encourages qualified candidates of all genders and from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

How to apply:

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