Intelligence: Must Have More Translators


December 21, 2005: Yet another program is under way to obtain more translators capable of dealing with Arabic, Russian or Chinese for the U.S. government. The U.S. Department of Defense has established the EHLS (English for Heritage Language Speakers) program for native speakers of these languages, living in the U.S., who lack the English language skills to be effective translators. The program involves a government paid, six month (720 hour) intensive course that improves the students English language skills, while also showing them U.S. government procedures and techniques for doing translation. For the first year of EHLS, the government is putting up $2 million. Those who successfully finish EHLS will be offered translating jobs with the U.S. government, but the students are under no legal obligation to take any of those jobs. However, those who speak one of the needed foreign languages as their native language, and express interest in a government translator job, will be given priority in getting into the EHLS program. If the initial EHLS students do well, the program will be expanded. The Department of Defense currently has a shortage of translators able to handle Arabic, Persian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Pashto, Urdu and Korean.


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