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Thread: We still don't grasp the value of translators

  1. #41
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    I'm in the Pashto program at DLI. It has a terrible graduation rate from start to finish, less than 40%. The curriculum was written by non native English speakers without college degrees and the person with the education degree native language is Japanese. As a result, a student in the course will learn to say "I fly a kite" before he can count past 100.

    On 1 Oct it goes to Cat IV and 63 weeks.

  2. #42
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    My experience is that considerable immersion is essential to develop minimally useful language skills. So how do you teach proficiency in a language typically encountered only in a warzone?

    Hint, there's no Little Afghanistan in Monterey. So why is the program located there?
    Last edited by Presley Cannady; 02-27-2010 at 05:07 AM.
    PH Cannady
    Correlate Systems

  3. #43
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    I was often asked by gearheads about the best piece of kit the Canadian Forces had in Afghanistan, whether it was the LAVs or the C7 or the Griffons or whatnot, and I usually responded by saying the most valuable thing they had in the field were the terps. Without them, you're nothing, all you can do is shoot.

    They were local hires who put themselves at great personal risk the rules said you couldn't take their photos or include them on video you shot there, and I note with approval that the Canadian government has offered fast-track immigration to Afghans who ordinarily wouldn't qualify for citizenship if they have worked extensively with the CF and their lives are subsequently in danger.

    Also, a surprising number of the soldiers had taught themselves a little Pashto, not much more than restaurant French, from a series of web-based language programs floating around. They weren't fluent but on dismount patrols, a corporal could at least say hello to the locals in the streets, and the locals seemed impressed that a soldier could at least try to address them in their own language.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40below View Post
    I was often asked by gearheads about the best piece of kit the Canadian Forces had in Afghanistan, whether it was the LAVs or the C7 or the Griffons or whatnot, and I usually responded by saying the most valuable thing they had in the field were the terps. Without them, you're nothing, all you can do is shoot.
    Great comment.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  5. #45
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    There was a German guy we used to travel around Malaysia with who had been partly raised by his amah (local nanny) and was fluent in kampong melayu (a vernacular form of Bahasa Malay). The locals are generally easy-going and friendly, but you occasionally would meet with mild suspicion bordering on hostility from village-folk in the hinterlands. As soon as this guy would start yakkin' away at them in the lingo, their jaws would drop, eyes would bug out, then grins, then laughter, then they'd all be shaking their hands in disbelief and asking him over for dinner.

    Happened practically every time; a hundred years earlier this guy could've been a rajah puteh or some such. It helped that he really seemed to understand the local humour, and being a younger cousin of Claus Von Stauffenberg probably didn't hurt his confidence either. Still, they should've put his amah in charge of a language school.

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