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17 July, 2014 - 10:23 By News Desk

Linguists to help train Libyan troops in Cambridge


The MoD has appointed technology-enabled language solution provider, thebigword, to deliver interpreting for its training of the Libyan military, which will all be taking place at Bassingbourn Barracks, near Cambridge.

Under the contract, awarded following a competitive tendering process, thebigword will provide up to 55 interpreters a day who will work intensively alongside the UK and Libyan troops covering everything from classroom learning to military exercises.

thebigword is the only language solution provider in Europe to have a dedicated defence division. The American and Italian military have already begun similar programmes.

The initial tranche of training will involve 360 Libyan troops and is expected to last for 24 weeks with potentially up to 2,000 Libyan troops being trained in total.

Major Graham Martin from Directorate of Educational Capability in Army HQ says: “The Libyan General Purpose Force training is a complex and high profile operation. It was therefore crucial that we found a professional organisation that fully understood the multifaceted nature of this contract, using highly professional linguists. We are excited to be working with thebigword and we are confident they can deliver all of our requirements.”

In tendering for the contract, thebigword drew on its experience of providing interpreters to support military operations in Afghanistan and other locations deemed classified.  To ensure it found the right interpreters for the role, the company partnered with the International School of Linguists and used a Libyan assessor to test not only proficiency in Arabic but also Libyan dialect and the physical and mental ability to manage such high intensity work.

David Capper, divisional director of thebigword Defence, Justice and International Security Division, says: “The MoD contract is testament to the growing reputation that thebigword is building within the defence sector, delivering language and cultural training across the Middle East.”

thebigword is a global technology-enabled language solution provider that provides translation (written word) and interpreting (spoken word) services for a wide range of public and private-sector clients. thebigword employs nearly 500 people based in 13 offices in 11 countries, working with more than 12,000 linguists worldwide.

Every month, thebigword interprets over the telephone around 2.5 million minutes of speech in 235 languages and its linguists carry out 14,500 face-to-face interpreting appointments. thebigword translates 50 million words a month in and out of more than 500 languages.

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