There is a going concern regarding the need for greater cross-cultural knowledge and understanding and also an effective communication among the nationalities involved. Literature leads us to believe that genuine cultural competency through effective translation and cultural mediation is found to affect positively state-building and infrastructure improvement efforts (Norton & Kamal, 2003; Ross, 2008). The literature also gives attention to the educational background of an Afghan translator and its bearing on his interest and preparation as an English translator for the ISAF effort in Kabul.
Lately, there have been complaints regarding the quality of recruited military translators sent to southern Afghanistan who are not prepared to serve in the battle. Most are in their 60s and 70s and are in poor physical condition. Some are not good in speaking the right language. Some cannot even speak the native Afghan language Pashto. Some did not even have the test given by Mission Essential, which is a requirement to test whether one is fit for the job (Strazuiso, 2009).
The Canadian and American translators who come into the mission are not much aware about the culture of the Afghans. Soldiers badly need translators in communicating with Afghans. There have been several complaints on the quality of translators and the impression they leave with the local Afghans (The Canadian Press, 2009). Thomas Hammes, a retired U.S. Marine colonel with combat experience in Iraq, said that the real information during war is the communication to the Afghan people and that you need a native Dari or Pashto speaker, who understands your side but the most important thing is he understands the community he is dealing with (The Canadian Press, 2009).
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