Being a Translator or Interpreter can be extremely dangerous. When crisis arise, or war erupts, one of the most important–and often overlooked–asset, is the person who will make communications possible between two different languages. Much is at stake in these interpretation sessions or translated documents, but ultimately it is the very life of the interpreter or translator what is daily endangered–on and off work.
Time Magazine describes the heart-wrenching odyssey many asylum seekers-including translators-must go through in order to escape the danger over the lives, even after the American troops left Iraq or Afghanistan.
This struggle is not new. Already in 2007, the 60 Iraqi interpreters working with the British Forces had been murdered, in an article that also interviewed one interpreter in the field.
In 2013, Forbes Magazine, published a well-rounded article on the danger of interpreters being left behind after war:
Taki, who started with U.S. forces at age 17, said he has received threatening phone calls; “It’s been more than four years and now I can’t apply for other jobs,” since companies don’t want someone who other Afghans will not trust. Rafi cited “intimidation and threats against me and my family.” Abdul discovered a Taliban member searching his home; the police released the latter while detaining Abdul, who subsequently received death threats.
More recently, 2017 started off on the wrong foot for many interpreters who worked with the US military. President Trump’s immigration ban caused much sorrow, as an article by PRI shared in detail.
Hopefully, translators and interpreters will be better cared for by those whom they serve–it is high time for a well-deserved improved treatment. After, their lives are at stake!