Tired of being commoditized and re-outsourced like a rented bicycle? What about competing with countless desperate bracero-serfs eagerly throwing themselves at crowdsourcing faceless corporations? Here are some opportunities many linguists overlook…
ACCESSORY TO GENOCIDE: Tired of scrubbing splatter out of your Levis after torture session interrogations at Gitmo? Why not go straight to the front lines where they capture suspected enemy combatants and be a proud Crusader and drone interpreter? The language barrier leads to all sorts of undesirable combat situations. One of the most memorable appeared in a John Wayne movie “The Longest Day”, where at Normandy beach two Germans, hands raised, stagger out of a smoking bunker, hands up, hollering “bitte, bitte…” A surprised G.I. riddles the pair with bullets and remarks to his friend “I wonder what ‘bitte bitte‘ means…”
Dilbert creator Scott Adams, sensitive as ever to the dilemmas of human frailty, writes about robot drones in combat taking kill shots ordered by a committee of joystick jockeys assisted by their trusty interpreter. This uniformed worthy will, with a sneer on the side at the jaws of danger, inform the drones hovering at his shoulder that “Lütfen, lütfen” is Turkish, or “Thov, thov” Hmong Dau, for “please don’t shoot me!” This job is the true meaning of doing well by doing good.
I am not making this up: “Another robot bonus: One translator could be on call to speak to humans through drones flying at head level. That way your translator is wherever the drones are.”
Or maybe you’re the more intellectual type, or allergic to high explosives… never fear. Zealous religious conservatives in Holland are appalled that their countrymen refuse to forgive and forget their occupation by conservative National Socialists during WWII. They are even more appalled that the libertarian pushback has taken the form of legalization of prostitution. Unable to strip those houris of their self-ownership rights, the better people who know what’s good for the riffraff have done the next best thing. They appealed to a European Court more kindly disposed toward the pious strictures of Positive Christianity that still serve as window-dressing in the provinces, hence the job opp.
INTERPRETER FOR SEX WORKERS: The Court, troubled by vivid memories of girl-auction scenes in Rudolph Valentino movies, has legislated that pimp landlords must interview tenant window-undressing girls in their exotic native tongues to make sure no Sheik has sold them down the Nile. Here’s the kicker: telephonic interpreting of the sort often resorted to in U.S. District and Immigration courts is not good enough to protect their blushing innocence. Opportunity knocks now that actual wingtips-on-the-ground in-person interpreters are needed to make sure those gorgeous prostitutes understand what they are getting into. Again, doing well by doing good.
Is this a great planet or what?