Job Offer: Ebonics Speakers Needed to Work for Drug Enforcement Administration

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
(graphic: Axe me about Ebonics, Cafe Press)

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking for a few good agents … who speak Ebonics. Critics of “African American Vernacular English” can make fun all they want, but the DEA is taking Ebonics seriously as part of its efforts to acquire information about drug dealings. The DEA office in Atlanta wants to hire nine agents who are fluent in Ebonics, not only to track down perpetrators but also convict them in court.

Special Agent Michael Sanders told the Associated Press that finding Ebonics translators could mean the difference between a successful investigation and a failed one. “You can maybe get a general idea of what they’re saying, but you have to understand that this has to hold up in court,” he said. “You need someone to say, ‘I know what they mean when they say ‘ballin’ or ‘pinching pennies.’”
The Atlanta office of the DEA is also looking for four linguists who can translate Jamaican patois.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
DEA Seeks Ebonics Experts to Help with Cases (by Greg Bluestein, Associated Press)
Regional Linguist Services Notice (U.S. Department of Justice)


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