National Virtual Translation Center
The National Virtual Translation Center (NVTC) is an FBI-managed federal government center created to serve the U.S. government’s translation needs. The NVTC was established by Congress in 2003 to provide timely, accurate, and cost-effective translations in support of national interests and was designated an Intelligence Community Service of Common Concern (SOCC) by the Director of National Intelligence in September 2014.
The mission of the NVTC is to provide and facilitate timely and accurate translation services of foreign language material to the elements of the Intelligence Community and other federal government agencies at the national level. The center offers a comprehensive set of language services to the federal government, with source material processed in a wide variety of formats: handwritten, typewritten, and electronically or digitally produced documents; microfilm; audio; video; and web-based content.
NVTC understands that translated documents should convey the intended meaning of the original author and take into account the subject matter, register, text type, purpose, and audience. Because NVTC’s customers depend on the accuracy and integrity of the translations it produces, the NVTC is committed to providing publishable quality translations. The NVTC offers a comprehensive set of language services to the federal government, which include:
- Full translation: Complete and accurate rendering of source material into a grammatically and colloquially correct product in the target language; translation can be from a foreign language source into English or from English into a foreign language
- Partial translation: Rendering of designated portions of the source material into a product in the target language
- Targeted translation: Partial rendering of the original material that pertains to specific items (people, places, things, etc.) designated by requestor
- Full transcription: Word-for-word rendering of audio or video material into the original source language
- Full translation + full transcription: Word-for-word rendering of audio or video material into the original source language plus complete and accurate rendering of source material into a grammatically and colloquially correct product in the target language
- Gist: Brief description (in English or target language) that includes the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How from the contents of the original material
- Targeted gist: Brief description (in English or target language) of portion(s) of the original material that pertain to specific items (people, places, things, etc.) designated by the requestor
- Summary: Translation that reflects the main points of the entire contents of the material in an abbreviated and concise manner and includes the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How; similar to a synopsis
- Targeted summary: Translation that reflects the main points of portion(s) of the original material that pertain to specific items (people, places, things, etc.) designated by the requestor
- Quality control review: Review of previously translated material to ensure a technically and linguistically accurate product
- Language identification: Identification of the language in a source file in textual, audio or visual form
- Cataloguing: Brief scan of material to identify specific data, which is then filled into pre-defined templates
Additionally, customers may request that NVTC provide a certified translation, which is a translation accompanied by a certification from a qualified linguist that a translation is true, faithful, and accurate. The NVTC can also provide certification from a qualified linguist other than the original translator that the translation is true, faithful, and accurate.
Who We’ve Served
Intelligence Community: Central Intelligence Agency | National Security Agency | Defense Intelligence Agency | National Geospatial Intelligence Agency | National Ground Intelligence Center | Department of Energy | Department of State | Department of the Treasury | Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Defense: Defense Security Cooperation Agency | U.S. Air Force | U.S. Army | U.S. Marine Corps | U.S. Navy | U.S. Combatant Commands: AFRICOM, CENTCOM, EUCOM, NORTHCOM, PACOM, SOUTHCOM, CYBERCOM, SOCOM
Law Enforcement: Federal Bureau of Investigation | Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives | Drug Enforcement Administration | Immigration and Customs Enforcement | El Paso Intelligence Center | Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center
Civilian Non-IC: Department of Housing and Urban Development | Department of State | Internal Revenue Service| Transportation Security Administration| United States Trade Representative
Customers’ Frequently Asked Questions
How does my agency use the NVTC services?
Please complete a customer inquiry form. An NVTC representative will contact you to learn more about your requirement. Once it is established that the NVTC is authorized to support your organization, an NVTC representative will work with you to meet your translation needs.
Who can request translation services from the NVTC?
You must be a federal government employee working within a civilian or defense intelligence community agency, a Department of Defense military organization, or any other civilian federal government agency.
What types of material does the NVTC translate?
NVTC can translate all types of material that fall within your federal agency’s purview. NVTC linguists cannot appear in court, so please contact us to discuss arrangements if you need support for an ongoing investigation.
Don’t federal agencies already employ linguists?
Yes, but members of the federal government are faced with a large volume of material requiring translation, some of which is in uncommon languages or dialects. The NVTC was not established to replace the foreign language translation efforts of existing agencies but to augment and supplement those capabilities. In many cases, NVTC linguists have been used to summarize large quantities of documents so the customer has a way to prioritize material.
How do you select your linguists?
The NVTC hires and contracts with highly skilled linguists in a large number of languages. Linguists are tested both in English and the foreign language to ensure first-class translation quality. Some may work directly for the NVTC as government employees or independent contract linguists, while others work for vendor companies and other government agencies and departments. The NVTC also recruits and employs retired government and military personnel with the appropriate and desired language skills.
I still have questions; can you help me?
Yes, complete a customer inquiry form to ask any other questions you may have about NVTC.
Customer Bill of Rights
- The right to expect a quality product. The NVTC has a robust quality assurance program that is focused on the delivery of timely and accurate translations. All linguists are tested and have, at a minimum, professional-level language proficiency.
- The right to expect results. The NVTC is dedicated to supporting your mission. NVTC provides tailored service to meet your requirements.
- The right to excellent customer service. NVTC staff is committed to providing outstanding service everyday; this includes accurate, complete, and timely information delivered professionally and with a positive attitude by knowledgeable staff.
- The right to transparency. NVTC leverages technology to provide real-time visibility into projects. NVTC strives to provide prompt status updates, funding reports, and access to relevant documentation.
- The right to prompt issue resolution. Customers are encouraged to bring issues to the NVTC’s attention; all issues will be investigated and actions will be clearly communicated.
- The right to secure information handling. The NVTC performs work at all classification levels and does not store any of the translations or source documents past 90 days of project completion. We also provide our customers the condition of anonymity: linguists have no knowledge of the customer unless the NVTC obtains prior consent from the customer.
Work for Us
NVTC’s personnel and linguists are located throughout the U.S. and connect via various networks with our Program Office in Washington, D.C. and other satellite locations around the country to perform their work. Linguists who work on classified materials receive their assignments via secure channels through arrangements with other government facilities. Linguists who work on unclassified projects can work from many different work sites—including home (provided the linguist has sufficient connectivity and the necessary hardware and software to complete the job). The NVTC’s highly sophisticated virtual network removes geographic boundaries.
Your primary duties as a NVTC linguist will involve translating documents or audio on a wide variety of topics. Working hours will depend on the NVTC’s needs and your availability. Your rate of pay will be determined by the foreign language you work in, test scores, and classification of the material to be translated.
NVTC invites you to join its nationwide network of linguists.
Linguists’ Frequently Asked Questions
What type of linguists work for NVTC?
The majority of NVTC’s linguists are drawn from the private sector as independent contract linguists and linguists who work for vendors under contract to the NVTC. Career linguists from federal agencies also provide services to the NVTC.
Where are NVTC linguists located?
Linguists live and work throughout the United States. They may perform work at government or contractor facilities or in their own residence (depending upon the type and security classification of the requirement). This flexibility helps make NVTC an attractive opportunity for linguists.
Can non-U.S. citizens apply?
No, the NVTC presently requires U.S. citizenship.
Is the NVTC an Equal Opportunity Employer?
As an element of the federal government, the NVTC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration. Except where otherwise provided by law, selection will be made without regard to—and there will be no discrimination because of—race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, or on the basis of personal favoritism or other non-merit factors.
National Virtual Translation Center
935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535
Customers, please complete a customer inquiry form.