Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Lost in Translation: How The Army Wastes Linguists Like Me

Wired’s Danger Room  August 24, 2011

It’s no secret that the U.S. Army has a language barrier to overcome in Iraq and Afghanistan. A decade of war has led an English-constrained military to seek all kinds of quick fixes, from translator gadgets to private contractors — something Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lamented this week. But more galling is the fact that the few soldiers who do speak Arabic, Pashto and Dari are still being wasted, even in the warzones where they’re needed the most. I know — because I was one of them.

The Army spends years and hundreds of thousands of dollars training each of its foreign-language speakers. At the same time, it uses costly contractors to work the same jobs for which its own linguists have trained. In Iraq and Afghanistan, private-sector linguists are largely replacing their military counterparts rather than augmenting their numbers, an expensive redundancy

Please read the story here

August 25, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Interpreters, Iraq | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This is a very interesting article. Interpretors are needed everywhere, and they do have a key role to play when it comes to conflicts to overcome the language barrier and act as a bridge between different languages and cultures. The US Army should definitely be aware of that!

    Comment by James | September 14, 2011 | Reply

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