This article explores the context of intercultural relations in the field of international aid and development. Examining the activities of a large UK-based transnational NGO (OxfamGB) through a detailed reading of its own 60-year-long archived story, the article seeks to reimagine the ‘contact zones’ of aid and development as multilingual and intercultural. In doing so, it offers an empirically grounded account of intercultural relations within a transnational institution, and seeks both to provide additional understandings of the politico-social power dynamics which frame such intercultural fields, and to contribute to current critiques of Western donor ‘upward accountability’ in development with its focus on the contractual, the standard and the quantifiable.