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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Interpreter's blues with UNTAC

Interpreter's blues with UNTAC


With the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement and the advent of UNTAC in Cambodia,

the dream of bringing peace to this war-torn country seems to be coming true. It

is a laborious task for UNTAC, and many locals are helping UNTAC to bridge the communications

barrier by working as interpreters. These interpreters are also an important functional

element of UNTAC and can be found throughout Cambodia from Phnom Penh to the most

remote areas.

I'd like to mention some of the terms and conditions for employment as an interpreter:

  1. Any interpreter working in a remote area away from his family and city will get

    extra pay.

  2. Interpreters will be graded according to their capabilities and on the recommendations

    from the UNTAC staff with whom these interpreters are performing duties, an adjustment

    in pay will be made.

  3. Our time will be paid for extra work.

It has been more than three months now that interpreters have shared the rigors

with UNTAC. But when the staff at UNTAC headquarters is approached about honoring

the promised terms and conditions of employment, I'm sad to say that there is no

one to talk to. What to do and how to do it is yet an unsolved mystery.

I pray that the dream of bringing peace to this country comes true. As for UNTAC's

promise, I can only wish. A boycott is likely to take place if the civilian personnel

officers of UNTAC remain indifferent!

- An interpreter who asked not to be identified



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