Throughout history interpreters have been used during times of warfare in a variety of ways. As warfare exists across borders this involves a multilingual and multicultural environment. In these environments honest communication is key and the need for ethical international translation services rise. This is where translators can start to have more impact than weapons. The US Army has described this as,
“Having an interpreter means having hundreds of potential helpers and hundred of weapons while having a weapon means having only a weapon.”*
Interpreters have the ability to escalate or diffuse a situation of warfare in the matter of seconds. A local interpreter who knows the culture has the ability to identify a suicide bomber simply based on their suspicious behaviors. This ability goes far beyond translating words verbatim. This type of translation means knowing how words are expressed in every culture both verbally and nonverbally. Picking up on these social cues is a vital role of international translation services. A translator between the Army and the local police can put together timelines and direct orders to create an efficient system that allows them to help people as quickly as possible.
In past events, interpreters have been known to save US troops from landmines and dangerous paths. These interpreters also work with journalists and doctors to help make sure that all information is conveyed accurately and represented ethically. Translators carry a very special weight on their shoulders to ethically convey all information, as the original source would have little way of knowing if their message was misconstrued. Proper international translation services can mean the difference of life or death in many wartime situations.