According to news reports:
The US Department of Justice is looking for linguists fluent in "Ebonics" to help monitor, translate and transcribe covertly recorded conversations of the subjects of drug investigations, according to federal contracting documents.I could do that job. I've done it before, just not for the government.
Up to nine experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration's Atlanta field office helping to translate telephone conversations and "maintain a list of slang words and codes," according to the contracting information released by the DEA.
Let me explain. And, keep in mind, I am not making any of this up.
Back in the 1980s, I worked in Jacksonville at a truckstop. The main areas were the restaurant, the shop, the travel store, and the fuel/service desk. I ran the fuel/service desk.
At the truckstop, some of the people that worked there were familiar with the road, and with life on the road. Many had family members who were in the trucking industry, or were former truckers or otherwise involved in trucking.
That meant that, not only were the people who worked there familiar with the daily routines and experiences of the truckers, the primary customer, but they came from all over.
In fact, about half the people who worked at the service desk weren't from the south.
Another thing you may need to know is that pulpwood trucks are pretty common in the south. Particularly in south Georgia or north Florida. And, in many parts of the south, Blacks make up 30-40% of the population, a much higher percentage than much of the rest of the country.
Which means that around 40% of the pulpwood truck drivers are Black.
And, in rural areas of south Georgia, where you're more likely to find trees, many in the Black community speak Gullah or Geechee dialects.
Now, if you aren't familiar with those, those dialects are centered around the Low Country of South Carolina -- but aren't limited to South Carolina.
And, if you're from up north, and you work at a truckstop in Jacksonville, and if a Gullah- or Geechee-speaking person asks you a question, you're probably going to be lost.
Unless, the manager of the service desk is from south Georgia and grew up knowing people that spoke that dialect.
That manager was me.
Anyway, I would be called on to translate between Yankee and Geechee/Gullah.
The Yankees would be totally amazed that I could understand the dialect-speaking driver.
And the drivers were totally amazed that I could stand to be around the Yankees.
So, I have experience speaking Black dialects. Or, at least, understanding and translating Black dialects.
Which means I could go to work for the government.
I just don't like the idea of having to speak government. The words are easy, but the meaning will drive you crazy.