Volunteering for Operational Linguist Duties

Discussion in 'Int Corps' started by Deeps, Dec 13, 2010.

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  1. Evening all,

    This is my first post in this forum so i'd like to say hello to everyone. I have previously posted on the Intelligence Cell but they suggested that I come in here as well.

    I'm a submariner but i've recently taken an MLAT and it went a a lot better than expected so that is why i'm now looking in to volunteering for operational linguist duties. I'm now just waiting for manning clearance to be confirmed and then I can get my application sent to DOLSU.

    I've had a thorough read through the relevant DIN and various articles on the Defence Intranet as well. I've also seen a really good thread on here from last year about linguist training. I was wondering though if anyone on here would be willing to share their views and experiences of being a military linguist.

    Long-term, i'm looking at transferring to the RN's CT branch but until then, i'm trying to build up my experience before I start applying.

    Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

  2. Tankie2ndrtr

    Tankie2ndrtr Old-Salt Reviewer

    My advice..... Dont do it ! hahaha a 6 month Pashto course felt like a sentence !

    wouldnt wish it on my enemies... which ironicly already speak it.... ahh sod it.

    I did my level 1 in Pashto for which i got an £1800 bonus for completing it and just shy of a fiver a day out here in "ghanners" :)
  3. Cheers for that Tankie mate, I appreciate it. Was the course really that bad?
  4. Tankie2ndrtr

    Tankie2ndrtr Old-Salt Reviewer

    yea it was murder....

    Taught by (in the case of my Course) Pakistani/afghans with no actual teaching skill just knolledge of languages... some are alot better than others, an 18 month course would be the only one which would give you real employability afterwards, as Level 1-2 Linguists are a bitbuckshee and dont relly have enough grasp/experience to be of any use out on the ground..... as i have found out... the money is worth it though.... the daily rate almost doubles for the level gained and the subsequent tours you do... for example.. if you done the 18 monther... a DIploma.... you would be on say an extra 22 quida day in theatre regardless if you use it or not... for your second tour you would be on about 35 a day.... which in the long run is epic.. an extra fiver a day for me is enough to take the long haired general somewhere nice afterwards.

    Ialso think f you dothe 18 monther you essentially get attached to the Int corps guys for a min of 2 tours... i cant help but think the demand for linguists out here inafghan will soon deminish as we hand back in 2014/15whenever it is... so i wouldnt recomend doing Pashto... Arabic/Dari/farsi would be of more use....

    what language had you planned on doing ?
  5. Hi Deeps. I've just got back from my first tour as a mil terp, I did the 15 month Pashto course and go back to DSL in Jan for another three months before deploying again in May. The course is a major lickout but worth it. Though I have to admit I was only really useful as a terp for the second half of the tour. The problem is that at DSL they have to teach you standard Pashto but in Helmand the language they speak is far from standard! It's a bit like an Afghan learning English from the BBC then being dropped into the centre of Glasgow. The financial incentive is pretty good - £4500 for passing level 2 plus £9 a day language pay for first tour. Your choice of language is up to you but there are generally more interesting jobs available for Pashto. It also depends on rank as there are a few more jobs open to officers and getting a place on an Arabic course is now quite difficult as there isn't the requirement anymore. So your choice is either Pashto or Dari/Farsi. If you're after something different though, go for it. I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far.
  6. Tankie2ndrtr

    Tankie2ndrtr Old-Salt Reviewer

    level 2 after 15 months?..............
  7. Yeah I know! I piled in on my level 3's!!
  8. Tankie2ndrtr

    Tankie2ndrtr Old-Salt Reviewer

    haha, Tests are ninja... We had a Chic on our Listening test.... never heard a Pish-2 one speak !

    after 20 weeks and two leave periods i scraped a 1-1-1-0 on my *cough* second attempt :)

    I have been asked if i wanna do the 15 monther.... dont think i could survive.... i would be swinging by the IILW door frame by my shoe laces !

    Level 1 is useless here as you said... no ****** understands me.... My terps knew my teacher was from pakistan but the only real use it has been was the instructor course we done after, so we can deliver the Basic Pish-2 patrol course to the rest of he squadron... That was good fun teaching...
  9. Tankie, Brew,

    Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it. Initially it's a two year draft that i'll be signing up for including the 15 month course and the 6 month tour. On the application form, we were asked to put down our 1st and 2nd choice preferences for languages. I've gone for Arabic 1st and then Pashto 2nd, however from what i've been reading on here i'm unlikely to get Arabic by the sounds of things.

    I would like to continue the linguist training though at the end of the course as opposed to going back to my source branch. The way I look at it is that i'm still fairly early in my career so I want to explore all the options that are available to me. The AFCO didn't give me the complete picture when I joined up so that is why i'm now looking down different avenues.

  10. Deeps, check your PMs. Sorry about the deluge of information, hope it helps. You might find it easier
    to copy and paste them into a Word document IOT read them properly.

  11. Nice one Tango mate, check ur PMs
  12. Deeps, be aware that being an Interpreter, may be considered as a step on a “career-ladder” going no-where! To my knowledge, there is no “career-structure” for interpreters.

    You say “ . . . i'm still fairly early in my career . . . ”. Hopefully, you have many more years’ service in front of you.

    If you feel disasitisfied in your employment now - don’t “set-a-course” (see what I did there?!), that will see you frustrated with few options in a couple of years time.

    If I’m wrong, I’m sure others will put us right, pretty quick :)
  13. Again, I'll add my two pen'orth.

    As a phase three student (non-INT) on a language course I can honestly say that it's the most satisfying thing I've done in my brief time. I'm very much a cause supporter and believe that as long as my job makes a difference I'm happy.

    It is, however, a very intense course. And as courses are run at P2 establishments it may come as a bit of a regressional shock! It has been to me!

    If you want another string to your bow, then it's not for you. The way things are going/looking then linguists are going to be an even more stout steadpoint then they may be considered at the moment.

    Luckily the INT have recently began writing up a very real career structure for the linguist trade, and with any luck that'll filter through for those wishing to pursue a career in languages rather than it being a simple aside to regular duties.

    If you want to perform a real job that really that makes a difference then pursue the course. Be aware that it is a long slog, with many extra man hours than your day-to-day job (especially during training!) but that the work is essential to you becoming a competent ((read "not necessarily qualified - but competent) the examing boards are somewhat suspect!) operator.

    As to the job itself, ask others. Any questions per the training - PM me.
  14. Language courses and the need for them is a bit of a red herring. I remember a sign painted by 2 Para in Port Stanley just after the recapture read:

    Putto el rubbisho in el binno

    Message got across alright.
  15. RCT,

    Thanks for the navigational advice mate. I think the fact that I am so miserable on boats is the reason why I want to do something about now instead of sitting on my backside and letting time pass me by. As I said, i'm still fairly early (3 years) into my career in the mob and I do want to stay in for the full term. However if I stay in my current position, i'm worried that i'll end up totally disillusioned with everything which is exactly what I don't want. I want something that I can really get my teeth in to and i'm just not getting that at present, I feel somewhat wasted.


    Again, thank you for the advice, it's really appreciated. It's definitely not a case of just adding a string to my bow. Like yourself, I want to do something where I feel like i'm making a difference. I'm not worried either about the course being a long slog, in fact it's exactly what I need as I need soemthing that's going to challenge me.

    I hope that they do implement a real career structure for linguists. As a matelot, my only other option at the minute is to transfer into the RN's CT branch and then specialise as a linguist from there. It's either that or I consider switching services and applying to join the Int Corps.