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DEA: "I Speak Jive"
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August 25, 2010, 12:30 AM
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This story:

DEA wants to hire Ebonics translators
By Carol Cratty, Ashley Hayes and Phil Gast, CNN
August 24, 2010 5:45 p.m. EDT

(CNN) — Wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration: Ebonics translators.

It might sound like a punch line, as "Ebonics" — the common name for what linguists call African-American English — has long been the butt of jokes, as well as the subject of controversy.

But the agency is serious about needing nine people to translate conversations picked up on wiretaps during investigations, Special Agent Michael Sanders said Tuesday. A solicitation was sent to contractors as part of a request to companies to provide hundreds of translators in 114 languages.

"DEA`s position is, it`s a language form we have a need for," Sanders said. "I think it`s a language form that DEA recognizes a need to have someone versed in to conduct investigations."

The translators, being hired in the agency`s Southeast Region — which includes Atlanta, Georgia; Washington; New Orleans, Louisiana; Miami, Florida; and the Caribbean — would listen to wiretaps, translate what was said and be able to testify in court if necessary, he said.

Reminded me of this famous video. The woman who speaks jive is Barbara Billingsley, who played June Cleaver.

The writers based that scene on the fact that they`d seen Shaft, (1971) and been unable to understand the dialogue.Here`s a version with translation:

Jive-speak

Translation

Jiveman #1: Sheeeet, man, that honkey mus` be messin` my old lady got to be runnin` col` upsihd down his head! Golly, that white fellow should stay away from my wife or I will punch him.
Jiveman #2: Hey Holm, I can dig it! You know he ain`t gonna lay no mo` big rap upon you man! Yes, he is wrong for doing that.
Jiveman #1: I say hey sky, s`other say I won say I pray to J I get the same ol` same ol. I knew a man in a similar predicament, and he ended up being sorry.
Jiveman #2: Knock yourself a pro slick. Gray matter back got perform` us` down I take TCBin, man`. Don`t be naive Arthur. Each of us faces a clear moral choice.
Jiveman #1: You know wha` they say: See a broad to get that bodiac lay`er down an` smack `em yack `em. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Together: Col` got to be! Yo! How true!
Together: Sh010039et! Golly!