Word around the way has come to me that the US Department of Homeland Security, is specifically seeking out translators for Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda as well as one that is spoken in Uganda and DR Congo. From all accounts, I’ve heard that this is a rather difficult language to learn. For those who don’t know, it is extremely different from other languages in the region, so someone who speaks Swahili or Luganda can’t just pick it up as easily as say someone who speaks Spanish learning Italian.
The fact that DHS is looking for translators isn’t really a shock. They employ a great many translators of African languages as they apparently place importance in understanding what people in Africa are saying. I’m not sure whether to take it as a good sign that they are now more interested in African languages because they place for importance in Africa due to a new, more enlightened administration or a bad sign that they are now more interested because in having failed at every military incursion in the Middle East, they are going to say that Africa is a new “hotbed of terrorist extremists”. I guess time will tell in the matter and let’s hope it’s not that later assumption.
Like I said, it’s not strange that they’re looking for translators. At the talk I gave two nights ago, an attendee there mentioned that a friend worked for DHS translating Akan if I remember correctly. What is weird about all of this is that DHS specifically asked Amnesty International if they knew of anyone. The implications of this are just bizarre. I suppose in one sense, DHS just assumes that AI would know of some folks because they have operated in Rwanda. In another sense, I’m wondering if DHS is just pitching this out to a great many NGOs that work in Africa because they went and tried Craigslist or some other ad website only to get no response. Whatever the case, it has to be one of the more bizarre hiring methods I’ve seen by a governmental agency in the US.
US Department of Homeland Security gets in to African languages?