Digging into the criminal world

My very first job in Australia was an odd one. When I went to the interview I was told I could start immediately and so I spent the rest of the day in an office. I responded to an ad looking for people who could speak Dutch and English. I know I’m not an official translator, but that was not required for this job. I’d be listening to phone calls and reading text messages and translating them into English.

There were four girls in total. None of us really knew what was going on, but slowly we started piecing together the puzzle. We were hired by a guy who was charged with a drug related offence. Nobody told us exactly what. He was paying us, but we were working from the office of a law firm. Our translations were used to lower the sentence of the guy being accused.

Slowly we realized this was a big case, which had made headlines in the news. A top guy with a high rank in the government had already been sentenced and now they were working on the smaller guys. The drug case can be compared to drug cartels in South America, only these were for the rest of the world.

Day after day I was listening to phone calls and reading private messages. It ranged from calls with wives, kids and mistresses, to calls with fellow criminals. They were speaking in code and all of them had nicknames. It felt a little bit like our own investigation since we were trying to connect the nicknames to real people and see how the organization worked. It was also our private soap opera, looking into the lives of another family.

It all sounds really exciting, but it was an office job. All I did all day was sit behind the computer, listening and typing. I can think of more exciting things, especially after doing this for a week. But we had a lot of freedom. We could come and go as we pleased and we were treated to lunch every now and then. The pay was good. I wasn’t complaining.

So why did I stop after only 4 weeks? Some of our data was stolen. Someone had gotten it from the computers. Furthermore some guys had approached my colleagues on the street. We think they were police trying to figure out what we had gathered from the material. With these things happening our boss found it too dangerous to continue working. We were even taken out of the office to a different room to be told this. Possibly they thought the office was bugged. They had to find out what was going on first. And so my career as an interpreter ended abruptly.

Where? Sydney
For how long? Meant to go on for three months, but only four weeks actually happened
Funfactor? Interesting facts, but lots of boring hours
Money? $20 an hour
Found at? gumtree

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