We were moved by this story about an Iraqi interpreter, Basim Al Hassan, being reunited with the American soldier that he worked with, William Wilder. Their story is a testament to the bond that can be formed between an interpreter and a client. We suppose the bonds formed on a military base will always be strong, and when language and culture are involved, the ties go deeper than just a shared experience.
An interpreter and a client share a level of trust, that the interpreter is delivering messages properly and not misrepresenting the client. When an interpreter doesn’t deliver a message properly, the client can feel misrepresented, and in the worst case, like they have been silenced. During military deployment, miscommunication can be a life or death situation.
Al Hassan and Wilder developed a friendship in Iraq, as they spent long hours together discussing personal matters of culture and everyday life, in addition to workplace interpretation. When Wilder’s tour ended and he returned to the United States, he and some colleagues volunteered to sponsor a Visa for Al Hassan, as a gesture of friendship and gratitude.
Al Hassan came to the US on a special Visa granted to people who assist the US military. He chose to settle near his friend Wilder, in Minnesota. After years apart, the two were able to pick their friendship back up without hesitation. We were thrilled to read about it!
For your face-to-face live interpretation needs, Multilingual Connections provides native-speaking interpreters from over a hundred languages. Click here for more information on live interpretation services.