Caught in the Crossfire

Interpreters during the First World War
  • Sandrijn Van Den Noortgate
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Languages at War book series (PASLW)


The First World War is often cited as being ‘the first modern war’, a description which refers to its scale, but also to the weapons used (Strachan 2004: xiv; Gilbert 1983: 423). With over thirty-two countries involved, the war was inherently multilingual, which meant that interpreters and other language coordination services were essential. Armed conflict requires interpreters for intelligence services, for the coordination of troops if the soldiers do not all speak the same language, for communicating with civilians in occupied or besieged territories and for negotiating the end of the war (Baigorri-Jalón 2010: 180).


Target Language Witness Statement Chinese Labourer British Officer German Soldier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Sandrijn Van Den Noortgate

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