News: Marine translates to improve communication
Story by Cpl. Justin Wheeler
SATTAHIP, Thailand - During Exercise Cobra Gold 2012, Lance Cpl. Janet Karnsomprot could be found translating for U.S. and Royal Thai field grade offices, interpreting for chaplains at community relation’s projects, reading signs and labels for Marines who want to buy food or having conversations with Royal Thai Marines. Karnsomprot is not a translator, she’s a personnel clerk, but she became a valuable asset for a variety of operations during Cobra Gold 2012.
Karnsomprot, with S-1 (personnel) staff section, 3rd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Battalion 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, displayed versatility when she became a translator for during Cobra Gold here Feb. 5 through Feb. 17.
The exercise is an annual multinational combined joint training exercise held throughout the Kingdom of Thailand. It is the United States' largest multilateral exercise in the Asia Pacific region and offers more than 20 participating countries critical training opportunities improving interoperability in conducting multinational operations.
“My captain noticed that I could speak Thai but I wasn’t very good when I arrived here,” said Karnsomprot. “But I improved drastically when I was pulled for translation assignments.”
When Gunnery Sgt. Osvaldo A. Perez, Marine Forces watch chief during CG12, saw the opportunity for Karnsomprot to translate, he knew it was a valuable opportunity to improve herself as a Marine.
“She is well versed and dedicated - respectful and attentive to her duties,” said Perez. “It was a good opportunity for her to interact with the Thai and make that connection [between the Thai and U.S. Marine Corps].”
Karnspomprot, who joined the Marines in 2010, stacks her duties as interpreter with her primary duty of tracking personnel. During the exercise, she was required to track information for more than 2,000 Marines.
Throughout the workday, she is often tasked with interpreting. Field grade officers and staff non-commissioned officers both requested Karnsmprot on a daily basis and even Royal Thai Marines began to ask for her help.
“I helped [Marines here] develop good relations with the Thai,” she said.
The 21-year-old married Marine learned how to speak Thai from her mother and grandmother when she was young but in her household, they spoke English. Despite her admitting to not being fluent, Karnsomprot demonstrated her skills in an array of situations and has helped problem solve exercise issues.
“During a community relations project, [the Royal Thai Navy base security], wouldn’t let the Marines leave the base and I had to speak to Thai higher ups to let the Marines off base,” said Karnsomprot.
After improving her Thai from practical application, the Los Angeles native met her grandmother in Thailand. Her grandmother was very impressed, she said.
“When did you learn how to speak Thai so well!” her grandmother asked.
Karnsmprot’s dedication to improvement exemplifies the Corps values of honor, courage and commitment and she will continue to mentor Marines with these values when she is meritoriously promoted to corporal next month.