chapter  17
Through the Cold War Lens
Russian and US interpreters as cultural and political mediators
ByBrian James Baer
Pages 10

In analysing photographs of interpreters and interpreted communicative events of the early Cold War era, one bring together two cultural practices that were in many ways emblematic of the positivist view of representation that dominated the culture of the time. In author analysis of several iconic Cold War photographs of interpreted communicative events and the captions accompanying them, he will show how the political pressures of the Cold War era challenged positivist pieties concerning fidelity and equivalence, initiating a debate, still ongoing today, about the role and agency of the interpreter. If the positivist model of communication constructed the interpreter as a kind of linguistic machine, the pressures of the Cold War era exposed the need for the interpreter to assume a role with far greater agency, to become, as White suggests, a diplomat as well as a linguist.