Interpreters and War Crimes

Document Type : Book Review


English Department, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran


Informed by Pym’s (1998) principles of translation history which call for attention to people rather than texts and with close attention to the contextual factors, Interpreters and War Crimes (Takeda, 2021) deal with two extraordinary yet underexplored interpreting situations interpreters could tackle in their profession –interpreters as witnesses of war crimes and interpreters as war criminals. In this book, Takeda examines the cases of interpreter defendants and interpreters as witnesses of war crimes at British military trials against the Japanese in the aftermath of the Pacific War. In navigating their interpreting roles, willingly or unwillingly, these interpreters took the accountabilities of the Japanese military’s crime and suffered the consequences. In the war, they served as messengers between two opposing parties; but in the postwar crime trials, their role as messengers, serving foreign military occupiers, led to punishment, and even paid the ultimate price by the death penalty.


Article Title [Persian]


Abstract [Persian]


Keywords [Persian]

  • مترجمان
  • جرائم جنگی
  • اصول تاریخ ترجمه
Pym, A. (1998) Method in translation history. Routledge.
Takeda, K. (2007). Sociopolitical aspects of interpreting at the international military tribunal for the Far East (1946-1948) [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. Universitat Rovira i Virgili.
Takeda, K. (2008). Interpreting at the Tokyo war crimes tribunal. Interpreting, 10(1), 65-83.
Takeda, K. (2009). War and interpreters. Across Languages and Cultures, 10(1), 49-62.
Takeda, K. (2010). Interpreting the Tokyo War crimes tribunal: A sociopolitical analysis. University of Ottawa Press.
Takeda, K. (2014). The interpreter as traitor: Multilingualism in Guizi lai le (Devils on the Doorstep). Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series–Themes in Translation Studies, 13, 93–111.
Takeda, K. (2016). Guilt, survival, opportunities, and stigma: Japanese interpreters in the postwar occupation period (1945-1952). In K. Takeda, and J. Baigorri-Jalón (Eds.), New insights in the history of interpreting (pp. 225-246). John Benjamins.
Volume 2, Issue 4 - Serial Number 4
ISBN 9783899664812
April 2023
Pages 107-112
  • Receive Date: 27 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 18 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 09 December 2022