US Army Pays Arab, Farsi Linguists $150,000 Bonus

The Army is looking at paying incredibly large bonuses to people fluent in Arabic and other strategically important languages, reports James Joyner at Outside the Beltway.

Read the full story of how the Army is trying to meet the demand for Middle Eastern language specialists to cope with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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56 Responses to “US Army Pays Arab, Farsi Linguists $150,000 Bonus”

  1. Monica Says:


    How are you? I have a few questions for you.
    150,000 bonus for active or reserve? How long is the contract?
    What is the age limit?
    Please explain in details.
    Thank you


  2. Eyad Says:

    I just came across this site and saw the 150k bonus for Arabic linguist?
    what source did this come from? I would like to know more info about it?

  3. worldmilitaryhistory Says:

    Sorry, seems the link in the post was improperly set.

    For information on the Army interpreter/translator career field see the following US Army websites:

    These give an overview of the programs and requirements, and also have links where you can ask questions or chat with a recruiter. Please note that the $ 150,000 bonus includes up to $ 40,000 enlistment bonus plus the value of the college tuition the Army will pay for you under the GI Bill. Depending on which unit you volunteer to serve with (e.g. an Airborne unit) you can get additional enlist bonus payments, which can total up to $ 150,000.

    You can choose to enlist for 2, 4, or 6 years. The longer the commitment, the more money you get. Maximum age is 40.

  4. worldmilitaryhistory Says:

    Hi Eyad,

    For information on the Army interpreter/translator career field see the following US Army websites:

    Please also see my above reply to Monica

  5. Monica Says:

    I was trained as a farsi linguist when I was in the Army – the language was really easy & I graduated first in my class – I’d love to do Arabic as well. I have a natural knack for languages and would love to put my abilities to good use for the benefit of America and the rest of the world but I hated the Army, I don’t care how much they’re paying in bonuses. The reason they have so much trouble recruiting smart people is because we don’t like being bossed around. We like to learn and to do good. So bottom line yes, I would love help, and I’m sure plenty of other smart people would, as well. But they have got to be able to come up with something better than making us join the Army. The problem is not a lack of Americans willing or able to learn Middle Eastern languages, the problem is a lack of smart people willing to join the Army.

  6. Monica Says:

    Plus, smart people tend to be bookish and shy away from the type of strenuous physical activity that’s required in the Army – not to mention, that guns & violence make us nervous. But it’s exactly this nerdy, bookish type of intelligence that’s required in order to learn these languages. You’re talking, a very small percentage of the population who even has the capacity for these languages to begin with, and that small percentage, with few exceptions, tends to be as described above. So you’re looking for a needle in a haystack here – a nerdy intellectual with great athletic prowess and a penchant for guns. See the problem? Wouldn’t it be easier just to re-tailor the program to somehow remove the armed forces requirement?

  7. RED Says:

    dynacorp is hiring like 1200 linguist right now and do not require the military aspect of it. pay is tremendous and you only have to do like 1 year contracts instead of signing up for years with the armed forces. L3 communications is a linguist company as well… good luck Monica

  8. SSG Neo Says:

    hey guys.

    I am a 09L. the Linguist program for Native arab and kurdish speakers is closed until further notice since recruiting has already met their quota for the rest of fiscal year. so probably there will be no more oppening for arabic and kurdish until sep 30, 2010.

    as for the 150k Bonus. there is no such thing.
    there are bonuses for up to 40k if you have college credits and you enlist into active duty for 6 years.
    reserve bonus for pashtu dari and farsi are 20k.
    you get GIBILL benefits if you sign in and pay your 100$ monthly fee for the first 2 years.

    as for dynacorp and L3 Com. I don’t believe they are hiring as much as before since the DOD has dropped the need of linguists for arabic in IRAQ. even arabic contractors that work for dynacorp and L3 have been quitting because their paycheck went from 180k a year to 110k.
    I always tought of leaving the army and going as a contractor and make some good money. but after being deployed and saw the poor quality of equippement and no weapons rule. i decided it doesnt worth it the 180k a year if i am in constant risk from a sniper since contractors wear the old BDU vest with no plates and make it the first target of any insurgent sniper.

    Right now the money is on Farsi Dari and Pashtu.

    I am working as Language advocate and assisting recruiters. so if you any any question don’t hesitate to email me to or I started a personal website called the website is not up yet but the forum is. so feel free to stop by and post your questions and I will answer them asap.

  9. A Needle In The Haystack Says:


    You’re quick analysis and interpretation of “intelligent people,” and overall pessimistic tone deeply saddens me, and motivates me simultaneously. As a freshman in my first semester in college i would be considered your needle in a haystack; being both interested in serving my country as well as being enrolled in the Arabic language. As for the language being difficult and challenging you’re correct, but as for being educated and “bookish,” and shying away from strenuous physical activity that’s required in the Army, you’re wrong. I was the captain of my varsity cross country team in high school as well as being on the basketball and track team. I attempted boxing when i was in 10th grade and played roller hockey and little league as a child. I’m in relativey great shape, on track for learning both Arabic then Farsi in the next three years, and wish to eventually enlist in the Marine Corp or Army at a later date. I want to ask why you feel you can’t be an intellectual and physically fit at the same time, and on top of all that enlist in the military? I’m young, i know this, but i also feel i need to make a difference before it’s too late and time passes me by…

    Furthermore, for anyone who might read this and have miltary experience or know someone who does; what types of jobs and activities might someone in my shoes find themselves doing in the Army or Marine Corp after finishing college? I only want to enlist for a two-to-four year term even though i know i’ll be miltary property for eight years, serving my active then in-active duty for whatever length they see fit. I’m curious and interested in joining the military purely for the time needed, not as a career. As a relatively young adult, I just want to help make a significant difference for the sake of my country and for the pride and honor my future decisions may reflect…

    Yours truly,
    A Needle In The Haystack

  10. Pete Says:


    I am a former German and Arabic linguist for the Army, i scored 3,3 in both languages when I was working, with a perfect score on the German DLPT IV. I also have a 127 GT score, and 133 on the DLAB. Not to shabby for a one-time Army Ranger candidate (eliminated by injury after completing unit’s RIP, and reclassed due to injury).

    I worked with many linguists I would have been proud to share any fighting position with.

  11. saad abed nayyef Says:

    i have been working with the us army for one year and half,i got siv and i am in usa now can i apply for a job as a terp?and what are the steps to complete the procedures?

  12. SSG Neo Says:


    The Correct term is Linguist not Terp.

    the procedures depend on which language you speak and your immigration status… in this case I guess you have a green card.

    Arabic, Ordu and Kuridsh are not needed anymore… but we still need Farsi, Dari and Pashtu.

  13. Mohammad Waezzadah Says:

    Hi Sir/Madam

    I am an Afghan- Canadian Citizen and can speak Farsi , Arabic and urdu
    I am living currently in Dubai. Ready to deploy at any time. My last job with government of Afghanistan was 2006 at the ministry of Transport.


  14. SSG Neo Says:


    what or where is the question that we can assist you with?

  15. katrin kim Says:

    Hello. My name is katrina , i am from South Korea, i can speak fluent farsi and Koran , and Enough English, English is my 3languages, and also i am half Korean and Iranian , i am a Korean Citizen and i would like to work as a interpretation job for united state army. its that possible ? how i should to start?

  16. katrin kim Says:

    Hello My Name Is Katrina Kim , I am From South Korean (Seoul)
    My Birth Day Is 1978 And I am Korean Citizen . I am Half Korean Half Iranian.
    I Can Speak Fluent Farsi And Korean Languages. And English Is My 3Languages.
    And I Have a Over 10years Experience Of Interpretation job(Farsi to Korean) In Korea.
    I Wold like to Use My Languages Skill to Help People.And I Enjoy Someone Be impressed and be Proud Of Me.
    I am Very Active And I Enjoy helping people. I Would Be Proud Of My Self Helping People In The USA Army. I Respect Them .
    I am interested Of Working For united Stated Army since Long Time Ago, But I Don’t Know If I am Able to Find a Job In USA Army As a interpreter Job, With Korean Citizen!!!. Can you Please Help Me With My Question? Thank You For Attention.

  17. SSG Neo Says:

    Katrina do you living in the U.S or in Korea? if in the U.S do you have a green card?

    SSG Neo
    United States Language Advocate.

  18. SSG Neo Says:

    I meant Do you live in the U.S. sorry for the typo.

  19. katrin kim Says:

    No I am living in South Korea. I am Korean Citizen.

  20. SSG Neo Says:

    Well unfortunatly you can not join the U.S army but you might want to try one of the civilian companies which provide translations services to the department of defense. I am sure you would be an asset to them.

    Good Luck.

  21. Kambiz Behnam Says:

    Hi I saw your advertising about Farsi/Dari OR Iranian Farsi language speakers. I like to work as a contractor inside of the military base in Afghanistan. If you do have this position available please contact me at 757-692-9099. I don have an secret clearance. Also, I speak Farsi Dari fluently. Thankis



  23. peyman Says:

    I was born in 1973 and Iranian , living in India ..
    Is it possible I am employed in the army?

  24. peyman Says:

    pliz anser to my Gmail

  25. Ali Says:

    my name is ail i spiking three Language(fairs Arabic. English).
    How can i have some information a bout interpret,May be sand a
    form Please. i was born in Iran, now I live in UK …. I have passport
    (British ) hope fully i well have job>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  26. ehsan Says:

    Hi I saw your advertising about Iranian Farsi language speakers. I like to work as a soldier inside of the military base in Afghanistan. If you do have this position available please send email to me at I don have an secret clearance. Also, I speak Farsi Dari fluently. Thanks

  27. samuel Says:

    I was born in 1981 and Iranian , living in Anchorage, Ak ..
    Is it possible I am employed in the army?

  28. arash Says:

    Hi, I am iranian and living in Iran. I can speak farsi, English and German, can they hire me?

  29. arash Says:

    Also I’m 19 years old.

  30. reza Says:

    hi my name is reza I spiking thee language(Farsi ,Kurdish,Engilsh)
    I am us citizen I would like to work for us army please let me know

  31. Sima Says:

    I know that working in military is a tough job but as an American whose first language is Farsi and got her B.A in English Literature I want to know more about this job.

  32. saeed almubalgh Says:

    hi how are you .

    my name is saeed i would like to know abt this job for the oversea
    i am in interested for this type of job and I have a question abt this job
    plz sent me some information abt this position thank

  33. Farid Says:

    Iam Iranian live in canada for 20 years I know five language Farsi,Turkish,Arabic,Italian,english,I am Canadian citizen I would like to work for us army please let me know

  34. Anonymous Says:

    the US army must hire native speakers, not the people they speak barely local language.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    I am iranian , & i am wondering to know what is limit for age , to be translator , farsi/english . thanks

  36. Vivienne Says:

    I am french, I do speak Fluently persian, german, french, english!!!

    I understand also the Dari language, spoken in Afghanistan!! Basic knowledge in Arabic as I had it one year in school!
    If you find any interest in this few languages, please contact!

    Sincere Salutations

  37. Anonymous Says:

    Dear SSG Neo,
    I live in NY, fluent in Farsi and English. What is the requirement for an interpreter in army and what is the age limitation for this position?

    Thanks in advance,

  38. SSG Neo Says:

    Anonymous from NY,

    First step would be go to a U.S army recruiting station and take the pre ASVAB test, based on those scores, the recruiter will tell you if you can go take the official test or you need to study a little bit more. as requirements, You have to be a U.S permanent resident (Green Card). as far as the age, you have to sign your enlistment before your 42nd birthday.

  39. 2LT KOHANYI Says:

    I am currently in the Army. I speak Fluent farsi. How can I put this to use? I work in s3 shop of support battalion i feel i could do somthing more important.

  40. kia Says:

    Hi I’m an iranian and 27 years old. I really interested to be at service of US army. I’m living in dubai

  41. sasha . m Says:

    I am iranian .36 years resident.I served in iran army (sepah) for 2 years.i am LA certified welder

  42. Julian Gobrail Says:

    hi my name is julian am looking for job in middle east i speak arabic english chaldean i live in usa i have green card

  43. fred Says:

    i speak farsi not arabic .i wanted to know if i can apply for this job

  44. ahmed Says:

    I speak Arabic but I live in Africa and I have no green card

  45. samira Says:

    im afghani i speak dari fari english very well…can hey give me the number so i can call them to get more info abt this job…….

  46. Nadege Says:

    I’m an American Citizen. I speak French, English & want to learn Farsi and eventually work for the US government. But I’d like to be sponsored by some kind of US agency that can pay for me to learn Farsi, so I can work for them afterwards. I’m 4 months from turning 42 years old. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thank you. ND

  47. SSG NEO Says:

    rules have changed for the armed forces. the maximum age for the army now is 35

  48. worldmilitaryhistory Says:

    SSG Neo,

    Are there any civil service opportunities for people like Drayton?


  49. worldmilitaryhistory Says:

    SSG Neo,

    Are there any civil service opportunities for people like Drayton?


  50. john727470 Says:

    SSG Neo, rules have changed but you can still get in until your 42nd b-day for certain skills….linguist, chaplains, lawyers, doctors

  51. noosheka Says:

    Salam.I’m an American Citizen.I speak Farsi.Iam looking for a job as translator in NY.I would like to work for army.Pls let me know.

  52. hasib asadi Says:

    I’m looking for translating job right now. I have previous experience as a linguist. I’ve also worked with special forces in the past.
    I also have a security clearance.


  53. mohammad Says:

    i speake english,arabic,farsi, looking for work in iraq ,5 days week ,mothly contract.

  54. Anonymous Says:

    Young U.S. citizen who is also Iranian, and speaks farsi. Was able to read and write as a kid, now looking to re-learn the language.

    send me an email with opportunities

  55. mohammad Says:

    i speak faersi ,arabic, english

  56. Zulfikar Says:

    Hello.i speak arebic turkish english farsi and turkmen. And looking for a job in us army

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