Interpreters can find themselves in challenging situations on occasion, be it communicating for a defendant in a court of law or assisting a patient with a life threatening illness speaking to a doctor at a hospital. However, the environment that military linguists encounter can be some of the most demanding of all. We have reported in the past about the dangers that linguists faced when on combat operations with the US and British armed forces in Afghanistan and the plight some faced after the war.
Our own home grown military linguists, selected and trained by the armed forces are a rare breed, unsung heroes, vital to operations yet invisible by necessity. Duncan Brown, is a British Army veteran interpreter who has joined us as our special advisor on defence linguistics. In his article, ‘The Iceman of Belarus’, he illuminates the life of military linguists and provides a humorous insight into why it is important to communicate and plan ahead of events.