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    Breaking Language Barriers

    Breaking Language Barriers

    Photo By Spc. Tori Miller | Revaz Tchirakadze, a military interpreter, is shown at the Vaziani Training Area,...... read more read more

    VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, GEORGIA

    08.03.2019

    Story by Spc. Tori Miller 

    124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Since 2004, Revaz Tchirakadze, or “Ray” as U.S. Soldiers know him, has served as a critical component between the Georgian and U.S. Armed Forces as a military interpreter.

    “All of my life I wanted to become a soldier, but unfortunately that didn’t work out,” said Ray. “As an interpreter I am always trying to be a cultural ambassador of my country. In any mission I am in, soldiers and the Army come first of course, but hospitality is a backbone for Georgian culture as well.”

    Ray became an interpreter while attending university in 2004. At the time, the Georgian Defense Force and U.S. Army were conducting joint training and were offering multi-lingual students contract positions as interpreters. Over the next four years, Ray worked full-time as a military interpreter.

    “To be selected for this job there is a chain of interviews that the companies conduct,” said Ray. “The interviews and training consist of basic language skills and military knowledge, but it isn’t difficult if you are confident in your knowledge of the language and practice.”

    Ray is a native of the country of Georgia and is proficient in Georgian, Russian and English languages. He believes that the best training he has received has come from his experiences with the Georgian Defense Force and other military forces that he has had the opportunity to work with.

    “Any time I have an opportunity to stand with the Georgian Defense Force and the U.S. Army, I will do it, I will commit to it,” he said.

    During the Russian-Georgian conflict of 2008, Ray was working as an interpreter between U.S. Special Forces and Georgian Special Forces in a joint training exercise in preparation for Georgian deployment to Afghanistan.

    “At the end of one of the training days, we all went back to the barracks and in the morning, we woke up to a war,” said Ray. “It was shocking because our U.S. counterparts and the interpreters woke up and the Georgian Special Forces were gone.”

    Ray said, the situation was initially very chaotic for everyone when the war began.

    “Being an interpreter during that time helped me a lot, psychologically,” said Ray. “Maybe I wasn’t in a uniform, but at least I could help Georgia with the assistance of the U.S. Soldiers who were here during that time.”

    After the resolve of the Russo-Georgian conflict in 2008, Ray left working as an interpreter full-time and began working for a security company in Tbilisi, Georgia. He continues to work as a contracted military interpreter part-time. Companies will contact interpreters like Ray and contract them based upon the needs of the military’s trainings and each interpreters experience.

    Ray believes that being an interpreter is critical for the soldiers in conflict because a single word can be the difference between life and death for Georgians or other military forces involved.

    “This job does not tolerate mistakes,” he said. “I’ve been with Georgian units that train for pre-deployment training for Afghanistan and any mis-interpretation can decide someone’s life. It is critical.”

    Today, Ray is working as an interpreter for the Public Affairs Office at Agile Spirit 19. Ray is one of approximately 50 interpreters that are contracted during Agile Spirit 19 and spread across three training areas; Vaziani Training Area, Senaki Air Base and Orpholo Training Area. These interpreters are critical for communication between the 14 countries represented at Agile Spirit 19.

    “Having the language barrier and having the interpreters available helped Soldiers from the 178th complete their job,” said Spc. Joshua Santos, Military Policeman with the Monroe-based 178th Military Police Company, Georgia Army National Guard. “Using the interpreters at Agile Spirit has helped prepare our Soldiers and Georgian soldiers for future missions. It gives everyone the opportunity to understand how to communicate so we can convey our message properly and correctly.”

    For Ray, working in the PAO is different than his typical contracted job. He has been helping Soldiers in the office translate interviews and interactions with other countries’ soldiers.

    Ray stated that he has seen a drastic change in the capabilities of his native country since he began working as an interpreter in 2004.

    “No one could’ve dreamed of the capabilities and the support that the U.S. Army has given us,” said Ray. “The machinery that is involved in Agile Spirit 19 was something that we, as Georgians, used to only see in movies and now it’s a reality. This success is not only because of the U.S. support, but the 12 other nations involved in this exercise.”

    The country of Georgia and the Georgia National Guard celebrate 25 years in the State Partnership Program this year. For the Georgian Defense Force, this partnership has been critical in their growth and strategic capabilities.

    “As a country, the partnership is very essential,” he said. “In terms of democracy, freedom, strategies and such, the State Partnership Program is very good.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.03.2019
    Date Posted: 08.03.2019 10:56
    Story ID: 334394
    Location: VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, GE

    Web Views: 253
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    Breaking Language Barriers