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    U.S. Air Force linguist breaks barriers during Mobility Guardian 2023

    U.S. Air Force linguist breaks barriers during Mobility Guardian 2023

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Alexander Cook | U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kelvin Chong, a Japanese translator assigned to the 18th...... read more read more

    YAKUMO SUB BASE, Japan – As a Hongkongese-American, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kelvin Chong has a unique advantage. A Japanese translator assigned to the 185th Security Forces Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Chong has played a vital role as the strategic cultural representative for the Air Force during Mobility Guardian 2023.

    Chong’s bicultural background allows him to understand not only the Japanese language but also the cultural nuances that play a significant role in effective communication. His ability to navigate the intricacies of honorific terms and address individuals according to their status adds a layer of respect and professionalism to his role.

    "The biggest challenge of my job is to understand what the expectations are," said Chong. "I have to learn and use a lot of honorific terms in Japanese when dealing with different individuals and their status. In my past, I didn't have to deal with higher-ranking Japanese officers."

    Chong's linguistic abilities were not limited to Japanese alone. Before joining the military, he had already learned four different languages, though only on a conversational level. However, his time at Kadena Air Base allowed him to further develop his Japanese language skills. Working in the Pass and Registration office, he had the opportunity to interact with Japanese customers regularly, expanding his knowledge of the language and its application in military operations.

    "That experience gave me more knowledge in Japanese and how it applies to military operations," said Chong. "When Mobility Guardian came around, I was recommended for the role of a Japanese translator, and I gladly accepted the challenge."

    During MG23, Chong's role was crucial in bridging the gap between the U.S. Air Force and their Japanese counterparts. He accompanied U.S. Air Force personnel in briefings, training exercises, and simulations, ensuring accurate and efficient communication at all times. His ability to convey messages accurately and interpret Japanese responses helped foster a collaborative environment, leading to successful joint operations.

    "Being a part of Mobility Guardian has been an incredible experience," said Chong. "I have witnessed firsthand the power of effective communication and how it strengthens relationships between nations. I am proud to serve as a strategic cultural representative for the U.S. Air Force, and I believe that my role has made a positive impact on the success of this exercise."

    Chong's dedication and linguistic skills have not only earned him respect among his U.S. Air Force colleagues but also admiration from his Japanese counterparts. His commitment to understanding and respecting Japanese culture has forged valuable connections and laid the foundation for future collaborations between the two nations.


    Date Taken: 07.12.2023
    Date Posted: 07.15.2023 18:38
    Story ID: 449291
    Location: JP

    Web Views: 599
    Downloads: 1