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Thursday, May 27, 2010

WLC provides interpreters for Medical Conference

WLC provides interpreters for 65th 
Annual Conference

World Language Communications is happy to have recently provided Spanish and German interpreters and interpreting equipment for the 65th Annual LIGA 2010 World Homeopathic Congress in Redondo Beach, one of the leading conferences in the world on Homeopathic Medicine.

LIGA 2010 is an international conference, highlighting the very latest scientific research in homeopathic medicine. Join doctors, scientists, and research professionals to discuss:

  • Evidence Based Research in Homeopathy
  • New Approaches in Cancer Treatment
  • State of the Art in Autoimmune Diseases
  • Pediatrics and Immunization - the Homeopathic Perspective
  • Current Developments in Veterinary and Dental Medicine
The LIGA Congress of 2010 explored ways in which homeopathy can play a vital role in the future of medicine. The historic gathering marks the 200th anniversary of Samuel Hahnemann's Organon of Medicine, and promises to be a spectacular event with speakers and researchers from around the world.

Hebrew translator of financial documents

Job Closed - Translator Assigned
Hebrew to English translator of financial documents needed to start ASAP. 

50,000+ words for delivery in 3-4 weeks. 

Click here if you meet these requirements

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bengali Interpreter needed in Los Angeles

Bengali Interpreter needed for a 3 day deposition in Los Angeles in mid June

MUST be Female

Click here if you meet these requirements.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Translation needed in Indonesian languages (Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese) as well as Swedish, Norwegian and Turkish.

Translation needed in Indonesian languages (Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese) as well as Swedish, Norwegian and Turkish. 

Please contact us here if you meet these requirements.

Short sample translation will be required.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Translator Mis-Translates Mexican President in Washington Visit

WASHINGTON – A halting and grammatically incoherent English translation marred Mexican President Felipe Calderon's arrival ceremony at the White House Wednesday, rendering his remarks difficult to understand at times. The Mexican delegation blamed its own translator.
In Spanish, Calderon's comments were straightforward and clear as he stood by President Barack Obama on the South Lawn and spoke to the common values and principles that unite the U.S. and Mexico.
But the English translation that American viewers heard was so bad that the official White House transcript ignored it. Instead the White House used a translation provided by the Mexican Embassy and it was markedly different from the words actually spoken by the translator as Calderon talked.
For example, here's how Calderon's comments on the tough new immigration law in Arizona were rendered by his translator during theopening ceremony:
"We can do so with a community that will promote a dignified life and an orderly way for both our countries, who are, some of them, still living here in the shadows with such laws as the Arizona law that is placing our people to face discrimination."
And here's how those same comments appeared in the official transcript issued later Wednesday:
"I know that we share the interest in promoting dignified, legal and orderly living conditions to all migrant workers. Many of them, despite their significant contribution to the economy and to the society of the United States, still live in the shadows and, occasionally, as in Arizona, they even face discrimination."
The spotty translation was a surprising lapse for a state visit with all the trappings meant to showcase close cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico and allow both presidents to demonstrate their commitment to addressing immigration reformdrug trafficking and other issues.
An official with the Mexican delegation said the translator came with the Mexican delegation but apparently was not someone who regularly translates for Calderon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue and because details of the situation remained unclear.

English / Spanish Translators needed

English / Spanish Translators needed

If you have not already registered on our site, please fill out our online application on our main site:


Please also email us your current rates and resume here if you meet these requirements. 

Have a great day.

Chilean Spanish and French Canadian Translators

Chilean Spanish and French Canadian Translators needed
If you have not already registered on our site, please fill out our online application on our main site:


Please also email us your current rates and resume here if you meet these requirements. 

Have a great day.

French Parisian and French Canadian Translators

French Parisian and French Canadian Translators needed
If you have not already registered on our site, please fill out our online application on our main site:

Please also email us your current rates and resume here if you meet these requirements. 

Have a great day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Transcription / Translation Job : Shurd Hindi > English

Shurd Hindi with the occasional sanscrit flourish into English

29 minutes audio of interview for documentary.
Documentary will be shoot all next year so we are looking for something ongoing.

If you have not already registered on our site, please fill out our online application on our main site:

Please also email info [at] worldlanguagecommunications [dot] com if you meet these requirements. 

Have a great day.

Korean and Arabic interpreters needed in Los Angeles

1 Korean/English and 1 Arabic/English Interpreter needed for graduation ceremony in Los Angeles

Dates: June 11th
Time: 9:00 AM- 11:00 AM

MUST have simultaneous interpreting experience. Interpreters without this experience will not be considered.

Please email your resume to: info [at] worldlanguagecommunications [dot] com and also make sure to register on our website or you will not be considered.


You can register on our careers page on:

Have a great day

French interpreters needed

2 French/English Interpreters needed for medical conference in Los Angeles

Dates: August 7th
Time: All day

MUST have medical interpreting experience. Interpreters without this experience will not be considered.

Please email your resume here and also make sure to register on our website or you will not be considered.


You can register on our careers page on:

Have a great Day,

Thursday, May 13, 2010


World Language Communications is currently seeking linguists with the following qualifications:

Must have Secret or Top Secret Clearance with one of the following agencies: DEA / DOD / DIA / DHS  / FBI

Must have taken ALTA language in one or more of the following languages:

Foo Chow
French Patois

Please email us here and register on our main website to be considered.

WLC provides patent translation for leading chemical company

We are happy to announce Siemens as our recently acquired client!

Siemens AG is Europe's largest engineering conglomerate. Siemens' international headquarters are located in BerlinMunich and ErlangenGermany. The company has three main business sectors: Industry, Energy and Healthcare; with a total of 15 divisions.
Worldwide Siemens and its subsidiaries employ approximately 420,800 people in nearly 190 countries and reported global revenue of 76.651 billion euros as of 2009. Siemens AG is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since March 12, 2001.

WLC provides interpreters for leading paint company

We are happy to add Sherwin Williams to our client list!

World Language Communications recently provide interpreters for a paint contractor workshop in Los Angeles led by leading paint US paint supplier Sherwin Williams.  

Since its founding by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in 1866,  The Sherwin-Williams Company has not only grown to be the largest producer of paints and coatings in the United States, but is among the largest producers in the world.

Click on the photo to the right to be directed to the Sherwin Williams website. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dangers of Pharmaceutical Translations

Prescriptions translated to Spanish could be hazardous to health

Half of the Spanish-language prescription labels reviewed for the study contained errors.Half of the Spanish-language prescription labels reviewed for the study contained errors.
By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Many Spanish-speaking people in the United States receive prescription instructions from the pharmacy so poorly translated that the medications are potentially hazardous to their health, a new study shows.
The errors occur largely because of deficiencies in computer programs that most pharmacies rely on to translate medication information from English to Spanish, said lead researcher Dr. Iman Sharif, chief of the division of general pediatrics at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del.
"The technologies that are currently available to produce instructions in the patient's language are inadequate," Sharif said.
Half of the Spanish-language prescription labels reviewed for the study contained errors, and some of those errors could result in life-threatening situations if misinterpreted by the patient, Sharif said.
The study is published in the May issue of Pediatrics.
Of the New York City pharmacies surveyed that provide Spanish-language labels, more than four of every five used a computer program to translate their labels from English to Spanish. Nearly all the pharmacies said they had someone doublecheck the labels for errors, but researchers found dozens of examples of poorly translated instructions.
A common problem was "Spanglish," Sharif said. The programs produced a mix of English and Spanish on the labels, creating confusing and difficult-to-read instructions.
The use of "Spanglish" also created some potentially dangerous situations. For example, the word "once" means "eleven" in Spanish. "You mean to say 'once,' as in 'take once a day,' and a Spanish-speaking person could interpret that to mean 'eleven,'" Sharif said. Such a mistake could result in an overdose.
Other phrases that weren't accurately translated include "dropperfuls," "apply topically," "for seven days," "for 30 days," "apply to affected areas," "with juice" and "take with food."
Misspellings also created errors. Incorrect use of the word "poca" for the word "boca" meant patients were told "by the little" instead of "by the mouth." One set of instructions included "dos besos," which means "two kisses"; the intended instructions likely were "dos veces," which means "two times."
Poor translations specifically cited in the study included:
  • "Take 1.2 aldia give dropperfuls with juice eleven to day."
  • "Taking 0.6 mL 2 times to the day by the little with juice."
  • "Apply to affected area twice to the indicated day like."
Dr. David Flockhart, director of the division of clinical pharmacology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said it's not surprising that these computer-generated errors are occurring.
"Word-for-word, you probably could get it right, but you can't get the entire sense of what's being communicated through a computer program," Flockhart said.
The sheer amount of information that a pharmacist must provide day-to-day also makes it difficult for people with a shaky grasp of Spanish to catch errors. "It's a particular issue because the PDR [Physicians Desk Reference] is so huge," Flockhart said. For pharmacists who don't speak Spanish, to translate it is nearly impossible. There's too much information."
Sharif believes these errors help explain why non-English speakers tend to receive poorer health care in the United States.
"This is something that is a critical contribution to disparities in care," she said. "Many people who don't speak English can't understand how to use their medications. This is one piece of that puzzle."
Noting that New York City requires prescription labeling in six other common languages, the authors said more research is needed to identify labeling hazards and safeguard non-English-speaking patients.
Also, software firms need to create better programs if patients are to be better served, since it's unlikely that every pharmacy in the United States will be able to find and hire qualified live interpreters to produce labels and instructions, Sharif said.
"We need help," she said. "We need the technology industry to step up and improve the way pharmacy prescription software translates drug instructions."
Flockhart takes a different view, saying the real solution is to hire more bilingual pharmacists. "I doubt you could improve the software to the point where it's as good as a pharmacist who speaks Spanish," he said.
In the meantime, Spanish-speaking patients need to protect themselves. "My recommendation would be make sure you ask for an interpreter who speaks your language to explain how to use the prescribed medicine," Sharif said.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Translation Resource Recommendation


We would like to recommend a wonderful website for web globalization news, research, and invaluable consulting services in the translation industry.

This is the one of the leading sites for translation related information and provides some of the most comprehensive, insightful and most importantly, useful information for translators and clients. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Language Learning through Online Games

See the tutorial below from Jimmy Ruska

Learn Languages for Free Online

The Foreign Services Institute offers FREE LANGUAGE study online.

There are literally hundreds of hours of free language study in countless languages.

These courses were developed by the United States government and are in the public domain.

See the tutorial below from Jimmy Ruska

German to English Translator needed


We have a 17 page document which is 75% engineering and 25% chemistry to be translated from German into English. You will have 7 days to complete.

Only NATIVE ENGLISH translators with proven engineering and chemistry translation experience will be considered.

Please contact us here and provide us with a quote.


Here is a sample of the text:

Sind die oben genannten Voraussetzungen erfüllt, kann mit der mikrofluidischen Trennvorrichtung vorteilhaft eine vergleichsweise effiziente Trennung der Komponenten des Flüssigkeitsgemisches erfolgen. Hierbei ist insbesondere eine kontinuierliche Betriebsweise der Trennvorrichtung möglich, wodurch der Mengendurchsatz der erfindungsgemäßen mikrofluidischen Trennvorrichtung im Verhältnis zu deren Größe enorm gesteigert werden kann. Es können vorteilhaft auch mehrere Komponenten eines Flüssigkeitsgemisches in einer einzigen Trennvorrichtung getrennt werden, wodurch insbesondere der Aufwand von Komponenten verringert werden kann (eine mikrofluidische Rektifikationskolonne anstelle mehrerer Destillationseinrichtungen), was auch wirtschaftlichere Lösungen ermöglicht.

Military Translation Technology

BBtv: Joel test-drives Iraq military language translator gadget.

Boing Boing Gadgets editor Joel Johnson heads out into the mean streets of Brooklyn to test-drive a language translation gadget used by US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The voice response translator is produced by Integrated Wave Technologies, and is used in both combat and peacetime missions, with the ability to translate commonly used warnings, interrogation points, and commands into many different languages.

Army Translation Technology

ARMY Technology - iPod Translators

Video package about how iPods are going to save lives, time and confusion in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Produced by SPC Luke Allen.

Translators in Afghanistan Expendable

Mission Essential, Translators Expendable

by Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch
August 11th, 2009

Photo by Ron Nobu Sakamoto

Basir “Steve” Ahmed was returning from a bomb-clearing mission in Khogyani district in northeastern Afghanistan when a suicide bomber blew up an explosive-filled vehicle nearby. The blast flipped the military armored truck Ahmed was riding in three or four times, and filled it with smoke. The Afghan translator had been accompanying the 927th Engineer Company near the Pakistan border on that October day in 2008 that would forever change his life.

“I saw the gunner come out and I followed him. The U.S. Army soldiers helped pull me out, but I got burns,” says Ahmed, who had worked as a contract translator with U.S. troops for almost four years. “The last thing I remember was the “dub-dub-dub” of a Chinook helicopter.” A medical evacuation team took the injured men to a U.S. Army hospital at Bagram Base.

Three days later Ahmed regained consciousness, but was suffering from the shrapnel wounds in his scalp and the severe burns covering his right hand and leg.

A little more than three months after his accident, Ahmed was fired by his employer, Mission Essential Personnel (MEP) of Columbus, Ohio, the largest supplier of translators to the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In a statement released to CorpWatch, the company said that Ahmed’s “military point of contact (POC) informed MEP that Basir was frequently late and did not show up on several occasions. A few days later, Basir's POC called MEP’s manager and told her that they were not able to use him and requested a new linguist.”

Ahmed says he missed only one day of work and arrived late twice.

Today, he lives in hiding in nearby Jalalabad for fear that his family will be targeted because he had worked with the U.S. military. The 29-year-old has no job and had to wait nine months for disability compensation to pay for medical treatment for the burns that still prevent him from lifting his hand to his mouth to feed himself.

Ahmed is one of dozens of local Afghans who have been abandoned or poorly treated by a complex web of U.S. contractors, their insurance companies, and their military counterparts despite years of service risking life and limb to help the U.S. military in the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The company they work for has become one of the largest employers of translators in the country.

Mission Essential Personnel

In the wake of the U.S. military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, Pentagon contracts for translators to support U.S. troops hastily ballooned from one contract for 30 translators in Kuwait in 1999, to arrangements for thousands of contractors spanning several countries today. The recruitment and management of these translators was initially handled by San Diego-based Titan, now a subsidiary of New York-based L-3 Communications, one of the top ten U.S. military contractors. (See also
“Outsourcing Intelligence in Iraq: A CorpWatch Report on L-3/Titan, Updated December 2008 with Recommendations from Amnesty International.”)

By 2006, Titan came under fire from the Pentagon for providing the military with fewer than half of the number of translators specified under its contract. Soldiers also commonly complained that the Titan translators, on whom they relied to communicate with Afghans and Iraqis, had very poor language skills.

When Titan’s original contract expired in 2004, the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) put it up for competitive bid. In September 2007 INSCOM awarded a five-year contract worth up to $414 million to provide 1,691 translators in Afghanistan to Aegis Mission Essential Personnel, a start-up company created by Chad Monnin, a U.S. Army Special Forces reservist who was injured in a parachute accident, and two of his colleagues.

MEP had two advantages over other businesses in competing for federal contracts: First, with revenue of less than $6 million and under 500 employees it qualified for preferential treatment as a “small business”; and second, under the Veterans Benefit Act of 2003, Monnin qualified to apply for certain federal contracts set aside to help disabled military veterans.

MEP (the company dropped Aegis from its name shortly after winning the contract to avoid confusion with a controversial British private security company) promised to provide the military with more, as well as better, translators.

Salaries Slashed

Most of the Titan translators transferred to MEP under new contracts, but quickly discovered that their working conditions had taken a turn for the worse. Samim, a Pashtun translator from eastern Afghanistan who had worked for both Titan and MEP, says that MEP immediately cut salaries of the local translators to save money. A Titan translator who had spent two years with the company could expect $1,050 a month, but MEP slashed this to $900 or less. New employees who do not travel with the troops make just $650 a month.

“MEP cannot comment on Titan Corporation’s practices," said company spokesperson Sean Rushton. "This is a different contract with different pay scales.” He noted that translators who did “more difficult, more strenuous, and more dangerous jobs” were compensated at a higher rate. “When MEP took over the Afghanistan language contract, it overhauled the method by which LNLs (local nationals) were paid, improving it substantially … even while the number of contractors using it has doubled. The previous company’s payroll system was slow and inconsistent, and had a high error rate.”

But former MEP translators noted that the higher salaries for more dangerous work were still lower than Titan’s rate. “I think they don’t really care that we are the people who work hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. armed forces," said Samim, who asked that his full name be withheld for personal safety reasons. "They sacrifice their precious lives but [MEP] doesn’t care that they [the translators] are targeted. They may work for one year, but they will be targeted for the rest of their lives by the insurgents, the terrorists and the bad guys.”

For most of the thousands of translators who now work for MEP in Afghanistan, even the lower salaries were better than no job at all, so most accepted the new contracts. (Several Afghan translators told CorpWatch that no one got paper contracts. MEP said the lack of written agreements was to protect the local hires who are not allowed to carry any documents that link them to the U.S. military.)

And like Ahmed, Samim found little job security. In July 2008, an MEP site manager fired him “for starting a fight with another linguist,” according to a company statement released to CorpWatch. “During the fight, he used disparaging words regarding religion which damaged team morale.”

Samim says that he was not even present at the time of the alleged incident and that the site managers confused him with a different translator. After four years on the job, he was told to leave the base in Kunar overnight “as if I was Taliban.” Samim remains bitter. “I have saved many American lives. People even call me 'Son of Bush, infidel,' ” he said. “But MEP treats us like trash. They treat us like criminals.”

Samim appealed his case to MEP’s director of human resources, but no avail.

That kind of treatment lost MEP a skilled employee. Samim quickly found new work with DynCorp, a U.S. company with a police training contract, that valued his experience working in the field with U.S. troops in places such as the Korangal Valley in Kunar province, sometimes called the "Valley of Death." Before long, Samim was making more money than he had at MEP, and being courted by international agencies including the European Police mission in Afghanistan. Today he works for NATO in Logar Province.

“I trust him with my life”

At a table inside a safe house in Kabul, Basir Ahmed placed dozens of photos, certificates of appreciation, and letters of recommendation from the U.S. military units he had worked with between 2005 and 2009. Some pictures showed him in Nuristan wearing T-shirts and wraparound sunglasses and sitting next to the sandbags and concrete barriers. In others, he stood in camouflage gear in the depths of winter next to a snowman that looked as if it had been airlifted from a backyard in the U.S. Mid-West.

Commanding Officer J.W. Bierman, of the First Battalion, Third Marines, described Ahmed in a May 15, 2006 letter of recommendation as a “hard working and dedicated individual whose services I would actively seek in the future.”

Sergeant David R. Head and First Lieutenant Candace N. Mathis of the Provincial Reconstruction Team at Task Force Spartan at the Kamdesh base wrote on December 22, 2006 that: “his performance was superb and very professional. His skills as an interpreter were nothing less than stellar. Basir [Ahmed]…. has displayed a level of integrity, responsibility and dedication far superior to that in other interpreters whom I have worked with. He works well as a linguist, and is always punctual.”

On May 11, 2008, Ahmed received a certificate of appreciation from Lieutenant Colonel Anthony O. Wright of the 70th Engineer Battalion (Kodiaks) for his help as an interpreter during the road-clearing program from 2006 to 2008.

It was just five months later, on a similar patrol with the 927th Engineer Company, that Ahmed was injured. At the Bagram Base, the military doctors did some skin grafts, but after about 11 days, sent him to an Afghan military hospital in Kabul. The military hospital said it had no room, and sent him to a Red Cross hospital where he was given some medicines and, after two days, sent home. For two to three months he could not sleep properly, scaring his family when he woke up yelling.

Then Gabby Nelson—the MEP site manager—summoned Ahmed back to Jalalabad, where she had the military doctors look at him again. For about 15 days, they treated the burns. He had to report to the gate of the base at 7 a.m. in the middle of winter for Nelson to drive him to the hospital one kilometer away—too far to walk with his injuries. She was often an hour late, he said, a painful and cold delay, but when he asked her to be more punctual, she said she would stop picking him up. He stopped going to the hospital.

Two weeks later Ahmed says Nelson asked him to report for a 12-hour shift starting at 6 a.m. despite the doctors' recommendation for a month’s rest. After working for the full month, he received $578, significantly less than the $845 that he normally earned.

Then as luck would have it, he says, he missed work once and was late twice, because of delays on the road to the base, where the Afghan and U.S. forces often tied up traffic with their maneuvers, he explained. Nelson told him to turn in his badge. He tried to appeal to the military, but they said they couldn’t help him, so he left the base on January 24, 2009.

CorpWatch attempted to reach out to several soldiers who worked with Ahmed, and one confirmed the certificates of appreciation and recommendations about his punctuality and the quality of his work. “He did his job diligently and willingly. He served with us during the most uncomfortable times, but never complained,” said the soldier, who asked to remain anonymous.

Rushton says that the company did the best it could to help Basir “Steve” Ahmed with his medical needs. “A desire to improve treatment of linguists is what began our company,” said the spokesman.

Rushton and MEP’s senior management said that they were pained to hear that Basir was upset at being “let go.”

“Anyone reading an account of a translator who was simply let go by a company after being wounded would of course be outraged at the company, but that not only isn't true in this instance, exactly the opposite is the case,” the company said in a statement released to CorpWatch.

“We have financial records showing seven disability and salary payments between his injury and the final settlement. It has been said Basir [Ahmed] received insufficient medical care, yet MEP employees not only ensured his medical coverage, they regularly took him to his treatment and got him into a U.S. military hospital,” the company stated.

“It has been suggested Basir waited endlessly for his disability settlement, yet the funds arrived within six weeks of his rehabilitation’s conclusion. It has been suggested MEP forced Basir to return to work when he was still recuperating, yet MEP had no financial incentive to do so and in fact, at Basir’s request, MEP got him onto accommodated duty, free of physical hardship. It has been suggested MEP cut Basir loose after he was dismissed by his military supervisor, yet MEP was and is anxious to help Basir, including by considering him for a new job.”

Reached by phone for his response to MEP’s statement, Ahmed says that he still feels his employer and the military abandoned him. But he was not completely forgotten. About two months after leaving his job, he started receiving death threats. “Believe me, my family is too scared. One day I saw a night letter from the Taliban. They put it in our door: 'You three brothers work for the U.S. Army. Quit your job. Otherwise we are going to kill your whole family,'” he told CorpWatch. Although, like many of his colleagues, Ahmed had kept his employment a secret from his neighbors, he believes that the injuries provided a clue about the true nature of his occupation to Taliban sympathizers in the community.

Official Response

Asked about MEP’s treatment of injured translators, MyRon Young, the public affairs officer for INSCOM at Fort Belvoir in Virginia emailed CorpWatch: “INSCOM does not have direct oversight of MEP's employees, as this contract is not a Personal Service Contract. Consequently, MEP's contractual obligations to its employees reside outside the direct Government's purview. However, MEP is expected to adhere to all Federal and State regulations in accordance with the terms of the contract.”

Mission Essential Personnel says that the company does its best to treat its Afghan personnel well. “We work hard to make sure they’re treated fairly and get every consideration a U.S. hire would get, a priority that comes straight from the company’s founders [who are] Army veterans trained in linguistics who believed they could improve the quality of services contracting to the U.S. government and offer a better environment to employees and contractors,” said company spokesperson Rushton.

MEP says that the military is very satisfied with its work, noting that it has received three back-to-back ratings of outstanding (the highest) since it started work just under two years ago. Today the company says it provides 97 percent of the translators requested by the military, compared to Titan, which only filled 41 percent of its quota.

Killed in Action

Basir Ahmed is wounded and unemployed, but he is still alive. Others have fared worse. Some 24 MEP linguists have been killed and 56 injured since the company started work in Afghanistan less than two years ago.

One such translator was 23-year-old Murtaza “Jimmy” Farukhi, who died on September 9, 2008, while on patrol with the U.S. Marine Corps.

A Tajik from the Panjshir Valley, Farukhi’s family fled their village in the 1980s after Russian jets destroyed their home during the Soviet occupation. They moved to Kabul and then, when the Taliban came to power, to Peshawar in Pakistan. When the U.S. defeated the Taliban, the Farukhi family moved to the Azaadi neighborhood just outside central Kabul.

Farukhi's father, Alam Shah, and his two younger brothers, Akbar and Kabir, said that their sibling had taken a job with Titan in 2003, because his father was sick and the family needed the money.

“He was my best friend,” Akbar, his 19-year-old brother, recalled. “He was very loving, kind, never hurt anyone. We would go to school together. He helped me when I got into fights, preventing me from getting into quarrels with other people.”

Once he started working, Murtaza Farukhi was sometimes away for three to four months at a time. His family arranged for him to marry a distant cousin who was an orphan, and in May 2008 the couple had a daughter they named Najma.

On September 8, 2008, Farukhi had a premonition that something bad would happen. His wife urged him not to go to work, but he said that she should not worry as he had been through similar incidents before. He gave his brother Akbar $50 to fix the household computer. The last Akbar Farukhi heard from his older brother was a text message checking whether the repair had been done.

The following day, Murtaza Farukhi was killed in Nijrab, Kapisa province when a roadside bomb struck the Humvee that he was riding, also killing Lieutenant Nicholas Madrazo and Captain Jessi Melton of the U.S. Marines, and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Eichmann Strickland.

In late September Akbar Farukhi and his father were invited to Camp Phoenix to meet MEP staff. They filled out the paperwork and were given $10,000 in compensation, approximately a year's salary. The family says it is still waiting for a second installment of promised compensation.

“It is always a tragedy when one of ours is hurt or killed in the line of duty, and we regard our fallen colleagues as heroes. There are numerous examples of the MEP staff going well beyond what is required to help injured LNLs (local nationals) and their families,” says MEP’s Rushton.

Not Enough Compensation

Ahmed, too, had to wait for compensation. In early July 2009, nine months after he was injured, he got his check for $10,000.

Samim is also dissatisfied with the system. “God forgive them, but there are many interpreters who have been killed but [their families] haven’t been compensated. Even if they did get any compensation, they got it after long arguments,” says Samim, who has been keeping an informal list of killed and injured MEP translators. He ticks some them off from memory: “There was Hamid who was killed in Nuristan. Emran was killed in the Devangal Valley in Kunar Province, and another in Paktia,” he says.

MEP says that the company voluntarily provides a one-year salary (roughly $10,000) to the immediate families of its killed Afghan translators, but that disability and life insurance is provided by a separate company under the requirements of the Defense Base Act of 1941. “As a result, MEP cannot comment on actual settlements with individual families,” says Rushton. “MEP is not involved in the monetary transaction between the insurance provider and family and/or injured linguist.”

Likewise the company says it is not directly or indirectly involved in medical decisions regarding long-term care, medications or hospitalization of injured translators. “MEP would like LNLs to receive the maximum benefits, but the company is not directly or indirectly involved in making medical decisions regarding long-term care, medications, or hospitalization,” says Rushton. “These are decisions the insurance providers make in conjunction with attending physicians or medical support.”

Samim says that even the full $10,000 death compensation (provided by Zurich Financial Services) hardly compensates for the loss of a working member of a family, or for the threat of future recrimination by the Taliban. “It’s exactly not enough. If it’s not for the rest of their lives, [the compensation] should be for almost 10, 20 or 40 years. Or get [the threatened family members] out of here, give them special immigrant visas to go to the United States,” said Samim.

Murtaza Farukhi had just been accepted into such a visa program when he was killed. With his death, his family’s chances of emigration may have evaporated. (MEP told CorpWatch that Farukhi’s spouse and minor, unmarried children might still be eligible for such a visa, but the ultimate decision would be made by the U.S. Department of State.)

But emigration can be a long and complicated process that would ultimately only serve to take the mother and child away from the rest of the close-knit Farukhi family, which is now without its only bread winner.

There was only one guaranteed path for the family to stay together and support the widow and her orphan daughter. So on September 21, 2008, immediately after Akbar Farukhi picked up the check for the death of his brother, the 18-year-old walked across Camp Phoenix to register with MEP to take his brother’s place. He did this so that he could get a basic $650 monthly salary to take care of his brother, his father, his widowed sister-in-law and Najma, Farukhi’s three-month-old daughter.