chapter  7
Staging the Entente in the First World War
ByMichael Kelly
Pages 11

A different picture of the interpreter emerges from the final image, presented in an amateur photograph taken on the signing of the Armistice in November 1918 and depicting a specialist interpreter involved in the negotiations. Interpreters were key actors in facilitating the alliance of the two countries working together in the Entente Cordiale, but they could be awkward figures to depict in their working role as intermediaries. In staging the Entente Cordiale, governments preferred to focus on smooth and harmonious collaboration, rather than on the effort that was needed to achieve it. Depicting interpreters in photographs, whether visible or not-quite-invisible, introduced a potential punctum. It pointed to the effort required to stage-manage the Entente and revealed some of the ragged edges in the relationships they were mediating. The photographs one have examined that interpreters sometimes appeared as integrating figures in the studium of military cooperation, which was crucial to the allied war effort and usually highlighted by the anchoring text.