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It is important that translation as mode of communication and interactions were understood based on content and context of messages, cultural relationships between communicators, and perceived communications barriers. Sutherland (2010) stated that theorists believed that the traumatic experiences of translators may have implications for interpretive decisions and practice, especially concerning accuracy, as translators will pass through mental anxiety and death threats.

This seriously affects cultural relationships since interpreters’ facilitate critical cultural understanding or of communication’s deadly consequences (Sutherland, 2010). Effective communication is fundamentally significant in international relations and military actions, where outcome of missions ultimately depend on universally understandable messages (Crossey, 2005).

Given the lack of qualified and skilled American English translators who can work with the official Afghan languages of Pashto and Dari (or any of the myriad minor languages), it has been necessary for these foreign agencies to hire local Afghans who can communicate in English, to act as translators for Americans stationed in the country (Leigh, 2009).

The Art of the Translators

Cultural Mediation through Language. The talent of translation was historically perceived as bridging the language gulf between speakers of different languages. However, the art of translation in the recent time is understood and widely accepted to embrace the enabling of a range of cross-cultural communicative activities with the end goal of essentially “mediating culture” (Bedeker & Feinauer, 2006, p. 254; Torop, 2008a).

Torop (2008a) described culture as an “educating system” (p. 254) and argued that translation must be viewed in terms of how it is informed by cultural education and how it contributed to furthering education between cultures.

Thus, translation is best considered a holistic process which embraces the “interlinguistic, intralinguistic, and intersemiotic translations” as well as “linguistic, cultural, economic, and ideological activities” (Torop, 2008b, p. 376).

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