The work of translators and interpreters in Afghanistan is critical to the mission. The art of translation is a bridge, a link, a path – but also a mirror between two individuals, groups, communities, and governments. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the important mission of the U.S. Army was to destroy the Al-Qaeda network, eliminate terrorist elements, and create an atmosphere conducive to peace and democracy. Translators and interpreters aide the U.S. Army: it is an attempt to bring opportunity to the Afghan people and pave the way for a better future for the war-stricken nation.
The U.S. Army and NATO allies have had to work close with the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan. Thus, there has been a stated need to recruit Afghans for different positions. Some of the contracted companies have recruited people unable to communicate with the Afghan locals in their own language and have had trouble relaying culturally sensitive issues to the U.S. Army.
Many contracted companies have not distributed important messages to proper community members on the various levels. Increased cultural knowledge, including important events and holidays is needed. This has been my experience in Afghanistan. Here in the U.S., I have attempted to distinguish some of the cultural nuance and the language of the community of Afghanistan in order to reinforce the mission of the U.S. military. In my current work at Allied Media Corporation, I emphasize this same message of cooperation and understanding with the different cultures, languages and people of Afghanistan.
Abdul R Reshtin was born in Afghanistan. He has worked as both a cultural advisor and a Pashto/Dari instructor here in the United States. Abdul spent six years in Afghanistan working with the Afghan government and the Coalition forces in rebuilding and improving security efforts. Abdul Reshtin is fluent in Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Urdu, and English. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
According to some Russian newspapers, there is currently a new Russian emigration wave to the West, specifically to Europe, Canada and the U.S. This wave is also known as “quiet emigration.” Because of the economical crisis in Russia, tens of thousands of managers, entrepreneurs and middle class professionals lose their jobs and seek employment abroad.
There were four major waves of Russian immigration to the US. The first one started in 1917, after the October Revolution, which consisted of mainly political immigrants escaping the Bolsheviks. The second wave was in late 1940’s, after World War II. The third wave took place in the 1970′s when hundreds of thousands Russian Jews emigrated as political refugees. The most recent and fourth major wave came in the 1990′s after the fall of the Soviet Union.
This new wave of immigration, if it were to happen, would be the fifth major wave of immigration. While some project the certainty of new people to the West; no one projects a wave larger than what took places in the early 90’s. However, if the unemployment level in Russia decreases or stays at the current (relatively high level) – this situation might change. The number of Russian immigrants to the United States has the potential to increase dramatically.
Recent immigrants to the U.S. are highly educated professionals, many of whom suffer the consequences of the current economic climate in Russia. Some of these people have been known to keep their Russian citizenship in the hope that the Russian situation might turn around.
For instance, some people have been known to buy real estate and live in two countries traveling back and forth. Another example, immigrants who have come on business or student visas, often return to their native Russia. Finally, of course there are illegal immigrants; one might say these are people that have fallen victim to the economic troubles found in Russia.
Today, the immigration issue continues to be a topic of debate, with a myriad of opinion on the matter. Some Americans are against open immigration, while others believe it is essential for the success of this country. Regardless of one’s position, most people agree that immigrants come to the United States in order to achieve a better life; a piece of the American dream.
Eastern European Team Lead at Allied Media Corp.
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With my first experience around television production crews, actors and actresses, directors and producers, I was overwhelmed by how much work goes into packaging the final product for audiences. Work starts long before a production site is chosen and last much longer…
The first big step was casting. We tried several advertising sources to get ethnic groups to audition for the Census TV/Radio/Photo commercial. The producer monitored actors and actresses to ensure that they were available for the Census commercial production and Allied-media made sure that they fit the targeted audiences. After weeks of auditions, the director had the ideal cast for Arabic, Russian and Polish actors.
The second step, Allied-media worked on three-language scripts making sure that they would capture the attention of the targeted Arab, Russian, and Polish Americans audiences’. The script was still re-adapted to the time-limit given by the producer. In the meantime, the production company was looking for perfect locations in the DC Area.
The day had come and it was time to begin the first day of filming. I was amazed on how many people were involved in even the shooting of a single scene. There are cameramen, electrical technicians, sound and light professionals, and those who were busy designing the sets ensuring they were safe and in the best possible working order. By this time, these gaggles of workmen were busy creating the Census TV-commercial production sets, while actors and actresses, with their in-language editors rehearsed inside the trailer. It was a cold day.
Before filming, wardrobes were required to fit the targeted audience. Makeup artists were putting the final touches into the mix getting the actors ready.
The Filming Begins!
Filming begins, the producer and director are ready with the perfect set and the actors are ready for the cameras. “Rolling,” is the magic word to get everything in motion, it was perfect harmony. The Goal was to be ready before the producer said “ACTION.” Complete silence. Being there, watching everything so closely, trying not to miss any details, I was amazed by how the camera changes completely each scene to a wonderful and perfect film. No imperfections are allowed, the scene could be repeated many times until the producer was happy with the results.
With the publication of Peter Francese’s white paper, there has been much talk about the 2010 Census and its results affecting the marketing world. Studies indicate that this changing face will morph from “Consumer Joe” to one that is impossible to define as a general market.
Francese’s findings indicate that in the nation’s 10 largest cities, “no racial or ethnic category describes a majority of the population.”
With no majority to pitch a centralized, mainstream campaign to, communications efforts must switch from reaching White America to a more multicultural marketing campaign.
Currently, campaigns establish the general market approach and overlay it with a smaller multicultural twist to satisfy consumer diversity. But what Francese is implying and what the Census 2010 numbers will reflect is that the general market approach will soon become obsolete.
Another point of Francese’s to substantiate this statement is how diversity varies greatly by age, “with the younger population substantially more diverse than the old.” These young, diverse consumers will only gain buying power with time, making it critical to recognize investment in specialized campaigns now.
The question remains exactly how existing agencies will act. There will still be a need for an overarching campaign to encompass all that would be placed on the big channels like NBC, ABC and CBS, but a lot more cultural thought will need to be put into this campaign. The specialized ethnic agencies will need a bigger seat at the table to get such messaging right.
An answer we do know is that ethnic media is on the up and will continue to grow with this growth of a diverse population. Thus, vendors should begin to accept this new age and approach the American audience through targeted in-language and culturally relevant campaigns.
The Obama administration recognizes the need now, and acted on it by investing millions of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding specifically into the 2010 Census hard-to-reach markets such as Arabic, Russian, Polish, Farsi, Ukrainian and Armenian speakers.
Diversity is here to stay, demographics are the future, and we as communicators must embrace it.
Team Lead – Diversity and Outreach
Halloween in Russia is not quite the same as it is in the United States. You will not see gleeful kids trick-or-treating on the Moscow streets – simply because Halloween is not celebrated among children in Russia. The holiday, originally brought to North America from Ireland, found its way into Russian night clubs about eight to ten years ago. Halloween remains new for the majority of Russian society, yet signs show that the holiday is gaining popularity among young adults. But those are Russians in Russia, how do Russian-Americans celebrate Halloween?
In the U.S., Halloween is quite popular among Russian-Americans, but to make it more popular they made this fun event a bit Russified. Russian-American nightlife during Halloween has never been this good. All of the popular Russian places in cities with sizable Russian American populations have special Halloween programs. Many Russian restaurants, bars, clubs and other places of gathering hold an exclusive event dedicated to Halloween. Although usually this event is decorated like any other Halloween party in the US: spooky decorations, carved pumpkins and guests in funky or scary costumes. Indeed, Halloween in the Russian-American community is customized specifically for Russians.
To attract the Russian-speaking crowd and those who like Russian customs, many places try to keep everything traditionally Russian: there is distinctive interior design, music, performed by Russian American DJs, delicious food, prepared by Russian chefs and, of course, Russian traditional beverages that make any occasion spectacular. Other than that, Russian Americans perfectly adopted this fun and perky event as a part of their life in the US. After all, it’s easy to adopt such fun, adorable and childish pieces of “American culture” and make it truly “Russian American.”
Allied Media Corp.
Eastern European Team Lead