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Lost without translation: Why codebreaking is not just a numbers game

The recent film ‘The Imitation Game’ has portrayed the part played by the mathematician Alan Turing in decrypting the messages sent from the German Enigma machine in the Second World War. But Nigel Vincent and Helen Wallace remind us that other skills – particularly in languages – have always been needed in order to understand an enemy’s secrets. Nigel Vincent is Professor Emeritus of General and Romance Linguistics at the University of Manchester, and a former Vice-President for Research and Higher Education Policy at the British Academy. Helen Wallace is Foreign Secretary of the British Academy; both of her parents worked at Bletchley Park in the Fusion Room.

Linguistics • Nigel Vincent and Helen Wallace

The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Published in British Academy Review, Issue 25 (February 2015).

Supplementary webpage:
Humanities scholars who worked in military intelligence in the Second World War