Military Commissions Seal
Translation and Interpretation
Translation Services

Arabic translation of the cover to the Military Commissions Manual 2010

The Department of Defense (DoD) is committed to providing the best quality translation and interpretation services for military commissions. Military commissions face the unique challenge of obtaining linguists for numerous languages. These linguists must often have security clearances at the highest levels. In order to obtain linguists, DoD uses contractors, a practice consistent with the practice of U.S. Federal District Courts. Contractors who provide linguists for military commissions conduct testing to ensure that each linguist meets or exceeds standards set by an approved, accredited testing organization.

There are two categories of language services provided by linguists supporting military commissions: interpretation and translation. Interpretation involves oral communication. Simultaneous interpretation most often occurs in the courtroom, and is used in situations where the interpreter and the person being interpreted speak simultaneously. Using headphones, microphones and a sound proof booth, the interpreter is able to interpret and listen at the same time. Consecutive interpretation is the most common form of interpretation. It is used in situations where the interpreter and the persons for whom he/she is interpreting speak consecutively, each waiting until the other has finished speaking before they begin.

Translation involves written material – taking information written in one language and recreating it in a second language. OMC provides translation services for legal materials, such as charges, the Military Commissions Act of 2009 and the Manual for Military Commissions, so that each accused may read them in a language he or she understands. OMC also provides translation services for evidence and other written material.