One of the deadliest jobs for civilian Iraqis is working as a translator for the U.S. military. Foreign correspondent Anna Badkhen profiles a 23-year-old Iraqi interpreter in today’s San Franciso Chronicle. Badkhen is also writing an Iraq reporting journal for CIR’s Muckraker blog.

From the Chronicle:

Neither his parents nor his siblings know he works for the U.S. Army. It’s bad enough that he wakes up each night around 2 a.m., the hour his armored convoy was hit by a roadside bomb several months ago. He doesn’t want his family to have the same nightmares.

The 23-year-old translator, who goes by the name Travis, is intent on protecting his loved ones from Iraq’s sectarian militias, which consider anyone who works for the Americans as traitors. He is also well aware that translating in Iraq has become one of the most dangerous civilian jobs in the world.

Since the war began five years ago, at least 200 Iraqis translating for U.S. troops have been killed, most of them in targeted killings, according to L3 Communications, a New York company that supplies interpreters to the American military.

To avoid being killed or maimed, Travis and most other Iraqi translators lead dual lives, concealing their identities and addresses. On patrol, the young man covers his face with a military-issue bandanna that he pulls down to the bottom of his sunglasses.

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Carrie Ching

Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist,, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour,, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.