In 2008, Sam was a 20 year old Iraqi college student in Baghdad who became an interpreter for the US Marines. He started a blog that tracked his experiences as a terp, and as a young man with all the usual concerns — especially girls. He is one of the lucky interpreters who was finally able to legally re-locate to the US, earlier this summer. While Sam’s life is vastly different from Musa’s, his experiences and concerns as an interpreter are recognizable. Below find a few excerpts from Sam’s blog, INTERPRETERS LIFE IN IRAQ WAR.
for example, I remember we were doing security operation in a city- west of Iraq, I was with my team. we were the strikers. and there were MET team( team deals with the Iraqi Army).. the MET team leader told his interpreter to call the IA’s (Iraqi Army) through the radio and telling them to stay away from that house which we were getting fire from, cuz the air will bomb it…
the interpreter didn’t understand what his team leader told him, but I was there and I heard what the team leader said…so the interpreter called the IA’s and told them “hey the Americans say get in the house and detain the bad guys inside the house”..
I heard him and I was like what the fuck r u tellin them???? Do u wanna kill them u stupid? he said “that what the team leader said!!” I said “call it off”, then I asked the team leader what u just told him? he said “tell the IA’s to be away from the house cuz the air will bomb it..” then the terp understood that he translated wrong and he almost kill IA’s team by translating mistake…then he called the IA’s again and told them “run far away from the house ASAP the air coming to bomb it..”
then he thanked me and started crying cuz it was gonna be a really massacre to the IA’s but thanks god I heard what the team leader said and what the terp translated..
my point is, there is a really good terps and there is ok terps and there is sux.. there is terps needs terps, we call them TNT, which is stands for Terp Needs Terp..
the terp was so confused while he was translating cuz we were under fire. but his confusing almost killed the IA’s!! here I’m trying to define the interps and who r they and what r they and why they chose this job. I wont talk only about myself here but I’ll talk abut other terps too..
the terps community is a mix of a lot and different classes of ppl, u can find terps from age 18 years old to 65 years and maybe more and from different life classes, like ppl used to be wealthy families or ppl poor and trying to be rich or ppl just want to live good and in peace.. u can find doctors, engineers and ppl still students and also u find ppl they haven’t even graduated from high school and ppl even cant read or write Arabic or English!!..
I’ve never met an interpreter he really loves this job and he really wants to stay in it forever or something. they all have goals and most of the goals r two: gettin kinda good money, feeling safer at work more then at home cuz at work u know u r a target and u r ready to protect yourself but at home in any sec somebody can come and kill u..
there is a fact about terps and its we have to be LIARS so we can still survive, we cant say what is our real names, where we live exactly, what our phone# or anything can define or ID cuz the insurgents they will kill us if they know who we are and were we live. they wont only kill us, but they’ll kill our families too..
some of the terps used to work for the Security Companies or the KBR or something else for the Coalition Forces…
there is bad terps, like some of them worked for the insurgents but they r few, and most of them got caught by the CF..
for myself I work for the money, money and revenge from insurgents and nothing else!!
I mean I love my country, but to be honest I’m not doing it for my country..
Through terps job, the terp help a loooot of ppl, not only by translating but by talking and explaining to Americans things they think wrong about Iraq and Iraqis..well I think that’s pretty much abut WHO ARE THE INTERPRETERS? I hope its enough..
if u ppl have any question go ahead and ask me!!
Take care everybody..
when are u going home?