The NATO official was quoted as saying that common languages such as French or German can be managed however “we can cross-check and say, that’s not exactly the right term, doesn’t capture the nuance – Dari and Pashto, we had to accept because none of us could interpret it” (p. 1).
American translators who can communicate in Pashto or Dari are few and far between and unable to meet the demand which Porter (2006) contended to constitutes a major obstacle to successful U.S. involvement in the region. He also observed that there are “no shortcuts” to language development as it “takes considerable time to develop language skills to the complexity necessary for intelligence and special operations” (p. 1). Consequently, the U.S. military, security and aid personnel operating in Afghanistan have come to rely heavily on local Afghans to serve as translators and effect the cultural mediation that is a critical component of relationship-building (Darley, 2007; Leigh, 2009).
In a literal sense, the importance of becoming a translator is boxed in his ability to make one language fathomable within another language. By definition, a translator is “an individual who translates written documents from one language to another” (Colorado Department of Education [CDE], 2002, n.p.). “The art of translation is a bridge, a link, a path – but also a mirror between two individuals, groups, communities, and governments” (Morocco Board News Service, 2009, n.p.)
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