In the Russian Federation, the Day of the Military Translator began to be celebrated since 2000 at the initiative of the Alumni Club of the Military Institute of Foreign Languages (WIIL). The date was set on May 21, since on this day in 1929, the Deputy People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, Joseph Unshlikht, issued an order, according to which a new specialty - a military translator - officially appeared in the Red Army.
Actually, it was actually not new at that time. After all, there has always been a need to have in military service those who know foreign languages, which are spoken by allies, opponents or the local population. And during hostilities, the opposing sides had to somehow negotiate and communicate with each other. When written reports and orders were intercepted from the enemy, they turned to a translator so that they could understand the content of these papers. And the interrogation of captured prisoners in most cases would have been impossible without the participation of a person who speaks the languages.
And such people were in our country in the army at all times. The first "interpreters", as the translators were called earlier, appeared in the princely squads back in the days of Kievan Rus.
And from the second half of the XNUMXth century in Russia, they began to train translators specifically for the army and fleet in the Asian Department of the Empire's Foreign Ministry. Cadets who had previously served in the guards units were accepted there. They were taught French as well as various oriental languages. In addition, English was added to the curriculum in 1907.
Although the Military Institute of Foreign Languages existed in the USSR before World War II, after the Nazi invasion the Red Army began to experience an acute shortage of specialists who knew the German language and the languages of the allies of Nazi Germany. Therefore, at this educational institution it was necessary to open accelerated language training courses. During the war years, about three thousand people underwent such training, who then went to the front and made a significant contribution to the victory over fascism. They were exactly the same military personnel as representatives of other military professions. Therefore, not all of them survived until the defeat of Hitlerite Germany and its allies.
And although peacetime came after the war in the Soviet Union, our military had to participate in the conflicts that erupted in the countries of Asia, Africa and even Latin America. Most often they served as military advisers. And, of course, there was enough work for military translators then.
And since 1979, our country itself entered the war in Afghanistan, which unexpectedly dragged on for a whole decade. There, military translators served both in the units of the USSR Armed Forces and helped the Soviet special services in their work. Only one military translator died in this Asian country, 15 people.
Today, the Day of the Military Translator is not an official holiday and is celebrated very modestly, almost at home. Occasionally, on this date, the opening of exhibitions, expositions is scheduled, and awards are held. Members of the Alumni Club of the Military Institute of Foreign Languages (WIIL) are active and try not to lose sight of each other.
The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye congratulates all military translators, both current and future ones, on their professional holiday, as well as veterans who have devoted many years of service to their beloved work. We wish you good health, success in your profession and personal happiness.