The British in the Second World War: Translation, Language Policies, and Language Practices

  • Hilary FootittEmail author


Historical accounts of British activities in the Second World War tend to place their participation in linguistic vacuum. The chapter argues that languages were in fact embedded in British war efforts, exemplifying this in three areas of war-making: intelligence, with particular reference to Bletchley Park and the Y stations; language policies developed for the occupation of Germany; and the establishment of a corps of military interpreters to assist the trial of war criminals in Germany. Rather than language planning for war, the picture is generally one of ad hoc responses and of language practices evolving to cope with new situations, with key questions being raised about the nature of translation and intelligence, and the role of languages in power relations on the ground.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ReadingReadingUK

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