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About Red T

What is Red T?

Red T is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of translators and interpreters (T&Is) in conflict zones and other adversarial settings. Comprising a team of volunteers, Red T advocates worldwide on behalf of linguists at risk, raises awareness of their plight and promotes their safety.

Local interpreters allied with foreign troops mask their faces in fear of retaliation from insurgents. Photo by James Lee.

The United States has joined nations such as China and Turkey in imprisoning translators and interpreters for content - in other words, for doing their job. Drawing by Christine Cornell.

Afghan and Iraqi interpreters are endangered due to their affiliation with foreign troops. Protective asylum is the only guarantee of their safety.

Historically subject to suspicion, post-9/11 translators and interpreters are increasingly labeled spies and terrorist agents. Photo credit: eo was taken

Why do Translators & Interpreters need our help?

From conflict zone to courtroom, T&Is are confronted with varying degrees of distrust, discrimination, and threats from all sides. In the worst cases, interpreters in Iraq must wear face masks to avoid being labeled as traitors and killed when they return to their communities. In Afghanistan, translators who work with foreign troops are singled out for kidnapping and slaughter. In the United States, linguists have been held legally responsible for the content they translate and the sentiments those words carry. The simple act of practicing their profession makes T&Is vulnerable to loss of life, limb, and freedom.

These hardships and their implications affect the lives of more than just T&Is. Linguists are the first line of defense against foreign threats and domestic dangers. We need them to sift through the chatter on the airwaves. We rely on them to identify crucial information. In short, T&Is are indispensable to intelligence operations at home and abroad.

They are equally key to the administration of justice. By providing language skills and cultural expertise, T&Is ensure that linguistic minorities can participate in legal proceedings. In contributing to equal access to due process, they make the world a fairer place.

All too often, however, T&Is are perceived as untrustworthy. The readiness of many to be suspicious of them suggests that few truly understand what translation/interpretation means. This deficiency undermines those who facilitate communication among peoples, and jeopardizes the peace and security of nations. Our lack of trust in them puts us all at risk.

For these reasons, Red T seeks to lay the groundwork for change, foster greater awareness about T&Is, and aid them in their plight.

What does Red T do?

Red T advocates on behalf of translators and interpreters at risk and gives them a voice - a voice to inform the public about their true role as impartial linguistic facilitators. With this voice, we speak out against the translator-traitor mentality, educate and rally the public, and help advance the world's understanding of the T&I profession.

Our priority action steps include:

  • » Drawing attention to and informing the public about the plight of translators and interpreters in conflict zones and other high-risk settings
  • » Redefining the role of conflict zone T&Is and working toward protected-person status akin to that granted ICRC staff
  • » Seeking to obtain a UN resolution conferring special legal status to T&Is operating in conflict zones (similar to Resolution 1738 protecting journalists)
  • » Exposing injustices and rights violations as they relate to T&Is
  • » Mitigating the legal vulnerability of T&Is in the United States by notifying them of new and existing case law
  • » Monitoring incidents involving the translator-traitor mentality (TTM) and alerting the public
  • » Creating and maintaining a central data registry for T&I incidents and statistics
  • » Tracking T&I policy progress by country (e.g., legal developments, asylum grants, insurance protocols, etc.)
  • » Organizing, conducting, and/or sponsoring public events and lectures
  • » Encouraging discussion about T&I issues and providing a base forum for the exchange of ideas
  • » Aiding other organizations in the creation and development of programs that further T&I-related causes
  • » Raising awareness of Red T, its logo, and its goals, in order to secure worldwide recognition

To learn more about what Red T is doing right now, check our News & Events section or our Facebook page for the latest news from Red T.

Who can be a part of Red T?

Anyone. There are no dues, no applications, and we are not a membership-based organization. We are a nonprofit organization, comprised of people and volunteers from across the globe united in our passion for this initiative. Red T embraces all people - linguists and non-linguists alike, regardless of professional affiliations, educational level, nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religious beliefs.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering or how you can help Red T, click here to Get Involved.

How can I show my support for Red T?

Red T thrives on your support and encouragement - any help in spreading the word only strengthens our effort.

If you would like to include the Red T logo on your website, blog, or other press/printed materials, please contact us and we'll be happy to provide you with the appropriate image files.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to learn about other ways you can help Red T, click here to Get Involved.

You can also Like Us on Facebook and get your friends to do the same.

Otherwise, if you have any other ideas or suggestions, please contact us.

How do I learn more about Red T?

For more information about our organization or if you have any questions, please contact us for press materials, history, and other documentation.

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