October 2009: FBI still short on translators, met hiring targets in 2008 for only 2 of 14 languages

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No change here - the FBI, along with other intelligence agencies, is having a hard time finding qualified translators to go through the piles of content that needs to be translated daily. You may also remember this post from earlier this year on the hiring bonuses (up to $35,000) the CIA provides for those fluent in "mission critical" languages. One of these is Persian and I consider it to be the easiest of them all. Indonesian is also a part of them but Indonesian varies quite a bit from region to region whereas Persian is quite standardized and stable. Then again, personal interest is the number one factor in learning a language well so don't choose one of those languages just because it may be easier to learn if you have no personal interest in the language and/or the region it's spoken in.

The biggest problem is always the same: the catch-22 situation where candidates need to be given extensive background checks, but the languages the FBI and other agencies need are usually spoken in regions where extensive time spent there can be a bit suspicious, so ironically the more time one has spent in the region the harder it can be to get hired.


Matt said...

It's a shame the article doesn't mention the twelve languages that are short on translators. Do you have any idea of what they are, other than guessing from the older article regarding the CIA?

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