The National University of Lesotho (NUL) through the Faculty of Humanities ran a short-term programme on translation and interpretation, which was designed specifically for the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF). The programme ran from March to July 2022 and a closing ceremony was held on the 9th August, 2022 at Roma campus.
Two students who completed the 16-week programme are Private Khojane Tlali and Private Nthatuoa Ramosamo from the LDF Department of Legal Services.
The LDF Deputy Director of Legal Services, Major Mantšo Sello, shared that after observing that some cases were moved from the civil courts of law to the LDF’s Court Martial, the LDF Executive realized the need for more trained translators and interpreters. In their search for a relevant training institution, it was evident that the National University of Lesotho is the only University in the country that offers a programme on Translation and Interpretation.
“Both the National University of Lesotho and Lesotho Defence Force agreed to design a special course termed Lesotho Defence Force – National University of Lesotho Short-term Legal Interpreting Course which was specifically designed for these 2 students”, Major Sello revealed.
He indicated that there is a law that establishes the military justice system in Lesotho. He noted that the LDF Court Martial operates in the same manner as the civil courts with interpreters who play a critical role in the closure and judgement of a case.
“It was at this juncture that we felt as the LDF that we should train our personnel who normally take part in the Court Martial proceedings as interpreters so that they are fully equipped with the skills and capacities to do the job”, Major Sello highlighted.
The course was led by Dr. Raphael Thuube at the NUL Faculty of Humanities. He thanked the LDF for entrusting NUL with the design and offer a transformation tool for the two trainees.
“Private Tlali and Private Ramosamo have been wonderful students to work with and sometimes I miss classes like this one. These people are so disciplined and they could literally run to class, when they are late”, Dr. Thuube explained.
He further highlighted the importance of the Translation and Interpretation programme in enhancing communication in various settings.
“The programme is very much needed in our world today since it promotes common understanding across different languages by ensuring a smooth communication of information, ideas and documents, leaving no room for miscommunication. It allows you to get deep, rich context and an accurate meaning of a text taking into consideration the linguistic and cultural background”, he said.
Dr. Thuube also highlighted that his students at NUL usually undertake their attachment practicums at the High Court. This is where various organizations, businesses and individuals begin to appreciate the work of translators and interpreters. He, therefore, thanked the Senior Interpreter at the High Court, Mr. Thatho, who always coordinates the attachments and ensures the placements of students.
The long-standing relationship between the High Court and NUL has been a harmonious one. In 2019, the High Court of Lesotho employed on a permanent and pensionable basis four (4) NUL alumni who undertook the Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpretation.
The programme for LDF ran for 16 weeks from the 22nd March to 22nd July, 2022. On the 9th August, the two parties held a closing ceremony whereby a progress report of the journey (start to finish of the programme) was given. The ceremony started with a welcome and appreciation remarks by the Faculty Dean, Assoc. Professor Paul Leshota who officially opened the ceremony.