The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced it is hiring translators for 114 languages. According to a CNN report, Ebonics is one of the language forms.
The DEA is looking to fill nine positions specializing in Ebonics. The job would require listening to wiretaps, translating conversations, and be possibly testifying in court.
Special Agent Michael Sanders with the DEA referred to Ebonics as an "urban language" or "street language." Sanders also pointed out that the language, which is also referred to as African-American English (AAE) by linguists, “crosses over geographic, racial and ethnic backgrounds."
Walt Wolfram, an English linguistics professor at North Carolina State University, agreed that having Ebonics translators could benefit investigations, as "the differences between dialect and code words can get pretty blurry at times."
While there is controversy over whether Ebonics is considered a language, the Center of Applied Linguistics recognizes African-American English as "a systematic language variety, with patterns of pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and usage that extend far beyond slang."