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Thread: Training Plan: Negotiations With an Interpreter

  1. #1
    Council Member Strategic LT's Avatar
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    May 2007
    FT Hood, TX

    Default Training Plan: Negotiations With an Interpreter


    I am currently developing a training regimen that focuses on Negotiations through an interpreter. For the practical exercise portion I am going to use two Spanish speaking NCOs in our unit. One will play the Interpreter and the other will play the target (mayor, religious figure etc.) I am looking for some scenarios and or descriptions for the interpreter and target that will develop likely scenarios the PLs and Commander will see in Iraq. Any help on examples or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Council Member Mondor's Avatar
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    Aug 2006


    I would suggest whatever scenarios you work up that you have some of your soldiers play locals and some play US. The soldiers that are role playing locals will be briefed up on what the local attitudes are, recent events, and on the internal politics of the area. The soldiers, playing themselves will go in with much less information.

    We found that the soldiers role playing local villagers learned an awful lot by watching how the soldiers interpreted, or misinterpreted what was going on and how they could make a good situation bad or vice versa.

    Your interpreters should not be read into the scenarios any more than the person doing the negotiating or their security team. This will keep the entire event spontaneous and as life like as possible.

    I would also suggest rolling these role playing events into a larger scenarios. Have your teams run other type of missions and have them begin the negotiations after they have been doing other “real” soldier work.

    A few scenarios that have worked in the past train ups.

    First Contact:
    Your first time in the village that has had no permanent US/Coalition presence. You are moving in and you want to let him know what you will be using for escalation of force signals and negotiations curfew enforcement.

    Feed Me:
    You want your troops to start living off of the local economy. You will need to buy vegetables, bread, etc. How can you do this without causing food prices to go up so that locals have a hard time paying but still support the local economy and put a human face on your soldiers?

    The roads that you use are in need of repair. Since your unit’s vehicles have caused a large part of the wear and tear (and all those potholes and chewed up asphalt make great places to hide IEDs) you convinced you CA guys to help spring for some of the cost.
    Which roads will be fixed, when will they be fixed, who will fix them, and who gets the credit are all potential subjects open to negotiation?
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies

  3. #3
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Mar 2006


    I am looking for some scenarios and or descriptions for the interpreter and target that will develop likely scenarios the PLs and Commander will see in Iraq.
    I'll offer that the issue of scenarios is not as important as the handling of employment of the interpreter/linguist, as well as the business of conducting tactical questioning.

    The venerable Tom Odom or Jedburgh can probably pull links to the CALL publications on this subject pretty quickly. I have to get my AKO and CALL access squared away again.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Sep 2007


    I can't help you with the scenarios, but I encourage you to learn about police professional communication. The Brits have a similar concept called policing by consent. They spend a lot of time on it because most bobbies don't carry firearms, so they rely more on persuasion.

    Here are some resources.

  5. #5
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Wherever my stuff is


    I think this is more what he's looking for. You need AKO to access. Tom Odom will undoubtably have more on this soon.

    Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Cross-Cultural Negotiations/Meetings

    Here's the biggest part (Appendix A):

    • Who will be the Partner on the other side of the table?
    • What is his/her background?
    • Ethnic group
    • Religion/Sect
    • Tribe
    • Education
    • Travel to West
    • Married
    • Children
    • Ages
    • Careers/interests
    • Political party
    • Known contacts, friendly/hostile
    • Are there similarities/shared experiences between the Leader and the Partner?
    • What are the Partner’s attitudes toward the issue under discussion?
    • Does he/she perceive the Leader’s goal as a “good”?
    • Does he/she perceive the Leader’s goal as a threat?
    • What issues concerning the goal are pressing on the Partner?
    • How will achievement of our goal ease or aggravate them?
    • Who are the groups to which he owes allegiance/to whom he must listen?
    • What are the Partner’s goals on this issue?
    • Does the Partner think he has room to maneuver on this issue?
    • What are the decision-making procedures in the Partner’s group?
    • Is it customary/does the Partner have the authority to make decisions on the spot?
    • Is it customary to accept proposals for “study” and deliver a formal response at another meeting?
    • Is there a “power broker” or “wild card” within the Partner’s organization who may not be at the meeting or whose approval the Partner must win to be able to carry through on promised actions?
    • Does the Partner have the power to deliver on any agreements?
    • Are there other members of his group who must approve?
    • Who?
    • What is the process for gaining consensus?
    • How much does the Partner know about the issue?
    • Where did he/she get the information?
    • What does the Partner believe about his ability to carry out promises?
    • Does he believe he has the resources? (Personnel, equipment, training, etc.)
    • What does he feel might stop him? (Outside opposition, internal resistance)
    • What are the cultural expectations in agreements?
    • Is the contract/agreement considered binding? Amendable? Or merely the start point for further negotiations?
    • What compliance mechanisms exist to compel performance of agreed upon actions (i.e., legal system, tribal council)?
    • What are the cultural ramifications of failing to produce what is promised (by either side)?
    • What could be the operational or tactical repercussions to our forces?
    Example is better than precept.

  6. #6
    Council Member
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    Oct 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis
    I'll offer that the issue of scenarios is not as important as the handling of employment of the interpreter/linguist, as well as the business of conducting tactical questioning.
    Absolutely. There are specific skills and methodology involved in conducting negotiations and/or interviews through an interpreter. Conducting effective foundational training in those skills is far more important than the details of the scenario. No matter which scenario you use, you are likely to run into far different situations on the ground - it is critical that you effectively ingrain the necessary skills to enable you to function in whatever situation pops up.

    Of course, how you are able to train on this task - as with so much else - is also determined by time available - I understand your plate is pretty full as you prepare to deploy, and there are lots of other areas to cover. If you want, I can go over the training plan and offer some recommendations - shoot me a PM and I'll contact you with a .mil e-mail.

  7. #7
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    DeRidder LA


    The CALL web site has a number of resources on this. Just log on and look for what you need.



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