A Dangerous Game of Telephone
Imagine being mugged at gunpoint in a country where you and your translator barely speak the language. A photographer from Texas was shooting film for a non-profit in the Sudan. While in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization, a local with an AK-47 shoved it into the Texan’s chest and started making demands. He did not speak Arabic, so the Texan was confused. He also did not speak Juba Arabic. Instead he was using an obscure tribal language. The photographer’s translator conveyed the mugger’s demands by translating them into Juba Arabic. Since the man had no use for a camera, he demanded $5,000. Then $1,000. He finally agreed to settle for a pack of cigarettes but only if the Texan put his camera away.