Red T: A Vision for Protecting Translators and Interpreters

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Red T: A Vision for Protecting Translators and Interpreters


Translators and interpreters are in the crosshairs of state and non-state actors alike. Whether targeted by governments across the globe or insurgents in theaters of war, their choice of work often comes at a steep price. Detention camp linguists are indicted on trumped-up charges; court interpreters receive death threats by text; literary translators are persecuted for content; and conflict zone interpreters are kidnapped, tortured and murdered for assisting foreign troops. In view of this critical state of affairs, their protection is of the utmost urgency. That is why Red T, the only non-profit organization of its kind, was established to advocate on behalf of translators and interpreters in high-risk settings.

Red T founder Maya Hess will outline the current landscape for linguists in conflict situations and introduce Red T’s various activities. Students will learn about on-going efforts to spur change in policies detrimental to the profession and the push for international legal instruments such as a UN Resolution that confers protected-person status on civilian translators and interpreters in conflict zones. Above all, by sharing Red T’s vision for the future, students are invited to get involved and raise their voices on behalf of their colleagues at risk.

Maya Hess is the founder and CEO of Red T, a US-based non-profit organization that advocates worldwide on behalf of translators and interpreters in high-risk settings. As a forensic linguist, Maya provided language support and expert witness services in many high-profile terrorism trials and experienced firsthand how vulnerable members of this profession can be. She holds an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, a Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as well as an M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York.


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