The Linguist

The Linguist 57-6 - Dec/Jan 2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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FEATURES 8 The Linguist Vol/57 No/6 2018 An Intelligence Analyst* in the RAF Specialist Recruitment Team explains why language skills are so vital to the work A n Intelligence Analyst (Linguist) or Int An (L) plays a vital role in protecting the security of domestic, national and international interests by interpreting, analysing and disseminating intelligence through the interception of foreign voice transmissions using state-of-the-art receiving and recording systems. From this, valuable intelligence about actual or potential enemies, and their strengths, weaknesses, movements and locations, can be discovered. There is also the opportunity to act as an interpreter for troops on the ground. Whatever their role, the contribution from linguists is vital to operational success as they support operations across the globe and assist senior commanders in making key decisions. In some cases, they may be the first or only people to hear vital pieces of information, which can affect the outcome of a military objective and save lives. On operations, linguists can be expected to support ground missions by intercepting enemy communications in the area and monitoring potential threats. This is especially significant in operational theatres where soldiers are deployed on the ground in hazardous territory. In-depth training The Royal Air Force (RAF) relies significantly on the high- calibre skills of its Int An (L) cadre. Personnel are currently taught languages of operational importance in an intensive 18-month course designed for people who have never learnt the language before. Students are taught all four aspects of a language (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and are assessed regularly on their progress. The languages taught at the Defence College for Languages and Culture change depending on operational requirements (currently Arabic, Russian and Farsi). This is followed by an applied course designed to bridge the gap between formal language learning and the ability to interpret, decipher and analyse real-world military intelligence audio cuts. Here, linguists become fully equipped to affect operations and able to influence commanders' decisions effectively based on the information they gather and translate. CIOL now offers membership to RAF personnel who train to become linguists, commensurate with training and the application of the language. Sky's the limit BRIDGING THE GAP RAF Intelligence Analysts (Linguist) at work (main image); and (above) an RAF Airman studies Arabic, a language of operational significance Sky's the limit IMAGES © PAUL SAXBY

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