I watched the BBC documentary ‘Our War’ last Tuesday. It was footage taken with helmet cameras by soldiers fighting in Afghanistan against the Taliban. Very shocking and thought-provoking programme. Among other things, what particularly interested me was the mentioning of interpreters on the front line.
The battalion in the programme was responsible for training the Afghan National Army (ANA). When coming into contact with the Taliban, one ANA fired without Positively Identifying the Enemy (PID) first and a little girl was shot. PID means when confronting with the enemy, the soldiers have to be absolutely sure that it’s the Taliban before they are allowed to fire a weapon. On the recording, the British soldier yelled ‘PID. PID first!’ And I was just wondering if I were the interpreter and needed to do it into, in my case, Chinese, how would I do it. Would I just stick to the English abbreviation? Or would I invent something in Chinese that’s equally short?
I can imagine working as a military interpreter on the front line, the most important is to be quick and accurate. Note-taking? Absolutely not. Eye-contact and gesture? Probably unnecessary. I know there are military universities in China that provide interpreting and translating course. Anyone heard of such courses here?
This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)