The need to understand crime language and support in cracking down on crime the Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a request to hire language translators for what is commonly indicated as African American English. The DEA has a need to hire translators who can help understand what people are communicating through conversations picked up on wiretaps during crime investigations.
The purpose of a language translator for the DEA is to listen to wiretap translation for what is being expressed and used as a tool to testify in court in defeating criminal activity. The DEA recognizes a need to have someone knowledgeable to conduct investigations in solving street crimes for law enforcement.
According to the DEA, Ebonics is a valid dialect language form that they need to understand. The DEA had request translators in cities of Atlanta, Washington, New Orleans, Miami and Caribbean countries who is fluient in a street spoken language because it is no longer spoken only by African-Americans. Ebonics has work itself into mainstream America now spoken by Hispanics and Whites.
African-American English is a growing dialect and in some ways is growing in stature. Hip-hop and Rap music has reinforced the language as bilingual English because Ebonics has been labeled as counterproductive in the eyes of society poking fun at the speaker’s dialect which raises concerned about racial profiling.
Ebonics is different in terms of language and vocabulary difficult to understand by most people becoming an issue with speech which can lead to mispronounced words like, Street, as skreet. Straight is pronounced as skraight spoken as if living in the country or Orange Juice spoken as arrrrange juice. The language gets “politicized and trivialized as street slang, faulty or broken English used with no parts of speech.
African American English is an organized language with patterns of pronunciation, bad grammar, vocabulary and usage that extend beyond slang. According to the website the Center for Applied Linguistics, a nonprofit organization in Washington. The organization states “it aims to improve communication through better understanding of language and culture because it has a set of rules that is distinct from those of standard American English, characterizations of the variety as bad English are incorrect.”
The DEA’s recruitment of having somebody to explain slang terms spoken by a particular community is an advantage if it allows them to understand a conversation for law enforcement. The translators could help in investigations, as the differences between dialect and code language can help pick out words on wiretaps.
The opinion expressed in this commentary
article are solely those of Michael Coker