Traduttore Traditore

Traduttore Traditore

John, a native American citizen, born to two Afghan ex-pats, volunteers to interpret Pashto in Afghanistan to help the U.S. forces. Despite the fact that he spent the majority of his life in U.S., there is an unspoken feeling of uneasiness among the Americans for whom he interprets. When he accompanies them, while he is welcome and comfortable when speaking with locals, there also is a level of mistrust among them.

This is a fictional story based on actual occurrences.

There is a misconception that translators are traitors: “traduttore traditore” is an old Italian expression, meaning “translator, traitor.” Whom do translators and interpreters really serve? Any true professional in translation and interpretation will tell you that they serve to best convey the meaning of the original message, how it was intended to sound in the new, source language. In a war zone especially, their intentions are questioned at every turn, instead of being considered innocent until proven guilty.

While this blog is a few days late, ’tis the season to be grateful. Thank you to the brave translators and interpreters who are willing to take on this adversity and overcome.

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