The nation’s defense relies on the military’s ability to gain information from foreign media, and when they’re working in a foreign country, they need native linguists to help them with the translation and interpretation of the non-English languages. But why are translations in the army so important? Let’s dig into it!
Quick Stats on Translations and Foreign Language Skills in the Army
Did you know that there are more than 14,000 soldier-linguists stationed within the US and around the world? Here are some interesting facts you might not have been aware of!
- If you want to become an army translator, you need to pass the Defense Language Proficiency Test or score at least 95 on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB).
- If you pass the DLAB, you can attend the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, which is the primary foreign language training institution within the Defense Department.
- The Institute offers accelerated programs that teach soldiers to read, write, listen, and speak foreign languages.
- Once graduated from the language learning program, soldiers can use their new language skills within military intelligence roles.
- All army linguists undergo background checks and need security clearances before they can officially work as military linguists.
- Soldiers training as linguists are paid full salaries and also receive housing and benefits while attending their language training.
- Linguists training at the Defense Language Institute can earn an associate degree if they transfer 15 non-language credits to another accredited institution.
What Do Army Translators Do?
Army interpreters and translators are the ones in charge of training military personnel in foreign language familiarization as well as foreign cultural awareness. They are also tasked with performing written translations of any texts and must identify, translate, and summarize spoken communications.
Army translators a variety of languages spoken within the environment of the armed forces. They interpret local gestures and perform sight translations for native speakers that don’t speak English.
Is Military Translation of Foreign Languages a Specialized Career?
Military translation and communication are often very complicated and sensitive, which makes it one of the most stressful roles within the linguistics sector. And since military texts reach wide ranges of audiences with different levels of competence, translators and interpreters in the army often have to attach additional information to the communications to overcome any challenges and difficulties that the public might face.
What Languages Are in High Demand in the Military?
Arabic, Chinese, Pashto, Farsi, Russian, and Korean are the languages most in-demand in the military. Every intelligence agency and branch of the armed forces has its own career and language requirements, but every linguist working within the military undergoes the same screening process.
What Roles Can Linguists Pursue in the Army?
What is the first thought that comes to mind when you consider linguistics in the armed forces? Perhaps it’s an interpreter or translator. These foreign language skills are sometimes referred to as cryptologic linguists. The military classifies these careers as language-dependent, and you must be fluent in at least one Middle Eastern language to pursue a career like this.
But you don’t necessarily have to become an interpreter or translator if you have foreign language skills. You can also consider options like Signals Intelligence Analyst, Human Intelligence Collector, Imagery Analyst, or Intelligence Analyst.
These positions all require fluency in a foreign language. But the responsibilities include non-language skills. These include visual surveillance and the collection of information through interrogations or special operations. It also involves the analysis of the enemy’s capabilities.
Linguists are in need in just about every division of the military, including intelligence, negotiations, and special operations. Army linguists are the link that helps the defense force bridge the language barrier. They also help navigate the cultural divide should it arise.
Here at Day Translations, we support the critical work that translators and interpreters do in the army as they continue to foster peace and harmony through breaking language barriers!