@Qwazse , I think the reason for the one-strip rule is simple: There has to be some limit. Why not one? The one that is most relevant or the one in which you feel most comfortable.
My wife is not registered with the BSA. If she were, here’s what she speaks:
- Indonesian - native
- Padangnese - native
- Javanese - dad’s tribal language; not awesome, but certainly more than enough to earn an interpreter strip
- English - fluent
- Sundanese - fluent; studied for 12 years in school; isn’t Sundanese, but grew up in a Sundanese area where everybody took it in school
- German - near fluent; was planning to attend grad school in Germany; has high level certification in German language ability and meets the criteria for immigrating to Germany; could easily earn an interpreter strip
- French - excellent; took it for four years in high school; very good chance at meeting interpreter strip criteria, but might struggle with translating the speech
- Betawi - never studied formally, but has tons of friends who speak this as their first language; dad grew up speaking it; could definitely pass interpreter strip requirements
- Arabic - can read it, but vocabulary is too weak to earn interpreter strip.
So, if my wife registered, she would be walking around with at least six interpreter strips on her uniform shirt. Seven if she could pass French. I’m not convinced that is how the uniform is supposed to be worn.
As I said above, I don’t think this is a recent rule change. Rather, it is a clarification. There has never been authorization to wear more than one interpreter strip that I have found. The phrase has always been presented in the singular when describing uniforming. People have simply assumed that because no limit has been explicitly stated in insignia guides that it there is no limit. If that’s the case, then six or seven are fine, and that doesn’t seem right.
I have seen people wearing multiple interpreter strips on the same shirt in the past. I have also seen people wearing Brooklynese and Klingon interpreter strips. I have not shamed or complained to any of these people. I appreciate what they do for the Scouts in their units. If they asked, like the young man who started this thread did, I would have let them know.
I do not contest your point about a Scout who is identified as trilingual by interpreter strips. Uniforming rules are not an absolute. It is one thing to know what they are and another to put them into practice. There are three with which I disagree, and I let my Scouts and parents know the rule and what I feel is the best way to handle the situation to provide a positive outcome for the Scout. In the scenario you described (which would be uncommon), there is a better outcome for everyone, if the Scout or Scouter departs from the uniform rule. So, one could say that in such a situation wearing two interpreter strips is improper uniforming but still the best choice to make.
As you said, helpful trumps neat. Common sense trumps rules.