The Army's Language Experts

No matter what country the Army operates in, it's vital that it understands the language of the local population. That's where Military Linguists come in...
These highly skilled soldiers work in combat zones translating intercepted communications to work out what the enemy is planning to do next. They also spend time talking to local people to help build trust and improve relationships.

Military Linguists are taught from beginner to expert level. Their language skills are then tested in a range of training scenarios, from gaining intelligence to understanding messages that the enemy is sending.

We caught up with one of the Army Linguists to find out what life as an Army Linguist is like.

Why did you become a Linguist?
When I joined the Army, the recruiter realised I had GCSE German and told me about the Intelligence Corps. I now speak Russian, Serbo-Croat and the Afghan language Pashtu, but you can learn other languages too.

Is the training hard?
It’s very intense. It’s an 18-month course, with eight hours of lessons a day and two hours of homework. It’s tough, but at the end of it you have a qualification and feel really confident with the languages you have under your belt.

What happens next?
Once you pass, you do more training to get you ready for your particular job. That takes about another six months.

What work do you do?
You could end up talking to foreign lawyers, politicians and doctors, or working as an interpreter. It’s been said before, but every day really is different.

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