This is a challenging time for our interpreting community - professionally and in terms of simple physical safety.Here at InterpretAmerica we want to take a moment to acknowledge the onslaught of extreme weather and natural disasters that many in the language services community are confronting. From the monstrous Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma , to the biggest quake in Mexico in a century, to the unprecedented conflagration burning up huge areas in the Pacific Northwest , we know that many of you are focused now simply on basic survival and safety. We extend our concern, prayers and any action we can take to support you during these very difficult times.
Many of you will remember our campaign from 2015 to help fund the making of "The Interpreter," a movie that will focus on the Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who served for the Allied Forces and who were promised visas to the United States (and many other countries) in exchange for their service. Our campaign to help fund the film was ultimately successful. The many individual interpreters and language services companies who donated to the Kickstarter campaign were crucial to the project reaching its goal.
That was in 2015. Now, almost two years later, filming is finally about to begin! Casting is underway and as soon as that is finalized, filming should begin this summer.
In this photo from 2008, a U.S. Army soldier and an Iraqi interpreter talk to an Iraqi woman during a patrol in Amiriyah, Iraq. DoD photo by 1st Lt. Meg Harvey, U.S. Air Force. (Public Domain)
*UPDATE (February 2, 2017) In the face of widespread outcry against its executive order, the Trump Administration has introduced an amendment to its travel ban to once again allow Iraqis who served as interpreters for the US government and armed forces in Iraq and their family members to emmigrate ot the United States. You can read more about the decision in this article by the New York Times.
Since its creation in 2009, InterpetAmerica has worked to raise the profile of interpreting and to shine a light on the role of interpreters in a global society that communicates and conducts business in many languages. From the very beginning we knew our efforts, however modest, needed to include those interpreters called upon to facilitate communication in conflict zones, whether helping refugees, troops or civilians to communicate.
InterpretAmerica is not a political organization, but we do care passionately about our profession. The interpreters we support often find themselves in the crossfire of politics and international relations. Interpreters in conflict zones, particularly those that served NATO and US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, are once again caught in the turmoil of politics.
Wow, what a great way to start off the week! Four days before the close of the Kickstarter campaign to fund “The Interpreter,” we reached our goal of $20k, making the campaign a success. Monday saw almost $2k in contributions alone. One thing is clear, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing support from the interpreting community in the United States and around the world. Together with other supporters, you rose to the challenge, and we are grateful.