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    Voices of the Military: Interpreters create a dialogue of cultures between U.S. and ally nations

    A dialogue between cultures

    Photo By Spc. Samantha Hall | Encho Denev, a Bulgarian interpreter working with U.S. Army and Bulgarian Land Forces...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Samantha Hall 

    126th Public Affairs Operations Center

    Story by Spc. Samantha Hall and Spc. Abigail Graham

    “It’s necessary to be accurate, accurate, accurate, accurate,” said Encho Denev, a Bulgarian interpreter working with U.S. Army and Bulgarian Land Forces during STRIKE BACK 19 at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria. Denev has a long career of translating, interpreting and teaching English for the U.S. Army, having attended the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio, Texas, where he taught as an instructor soon after.

    Today’s military often uses professional interpreters to translate communications and facilitate military operations. These language specialists do more than just translate words; they relay concepts and ideas between languages.

    “What we’re actually trying to achieve is something like a dialogue of cultures," said Denev. And in an increasingly cooperative world, this seemingly simple function can determine the success or failure of a mission.

    Several interpreters/translators assisted the U.S. Army during STRIKE BACK 19, a multinational exercise hosted by the Bulgarian Armed Forces at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, from June 6-20, 2019. STRIKE BACK 19 is designed to increase capabilities and interoperability with Bulgarian, Albanian, Greek, North Macedonian, and U.S. Troops.

    “We translate, but we also do other things like introduce our culture, which is very old, and we Bulgarians take enormous pride in it,” said Konstantin Kostadinov, a Bulgarian who assists in military translation when he needs a fun escape from his career as a criminal defense attorney.

    “We are a small nation but a very proud people," said Kostadinov.

    During STRIKE BACK 19, Kostadinov was an interpreter for the Joint Visitor Bureau, which is responsible for facilitating visits by high-ranking officials.

    “He’s been an immense asset,” said Tennessee National Guard Capt. Joseph Tipton, commander of the Joint Visitor Bureau.

    “The communication barrier is a hurdle that we couldn’t have gotten across, especially escorting distinguished visitors around. We’ve taken him out to communities where there is literally no American presence and without that conduit, we wouldn’t have been able to succeed mission-wise.”

    Outside of ensuring mission success, interpreter and translator relationships with their counterparts have proven to be an example of interoperability at its finest.
    “I like to think they’re more than just colleagues, but also friends,” said Kostadinov.

    “Encho is dedicated,” said Michigan Army National Guard Capt. Erica Mitchell, a section chief with the 126th Press Camp Headquarters. “He has helped us bridge the gap between us and our Bulgarian counterparts and that has been instrumental in building and maintaining relationships beyond the exercise."

    “Plus, we’ve made a new friend,” said Sgt. Ashley Gillons, a public affairs specialist with the 126th Press Camp Headquarters.

    According to the United States Army careers and jobs description, interpreters need to focus, understand, express, and communicate thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely in both languages. Strong analytical skills, mental dexterity, writing skills, and an exceptional memory are important when converting written materials from one language into another.

    However, according to Denev, there are nuances beyond simple translation from one language to another.

    “When you discuss matters with someone, in general, it boils down to the shared values,” said Denev. “If we have shared values, that makes the dialogue not only possible but also desirable. If we want something like mutual enrichment in both parties, you need the dialogue of cultures.”



    Date Taken: 06.15.2019
    Date Posted: 06.15.2019 05:52
    Story ID: 327694
    Location: NOVO SELO , BG 

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