The History of Translation


Same as all of the great phenomena in the world, translation has also a wide and deep history. You might get surprised to know that the translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language was considered the first major translation of the western world in the third century. 


In today’s world, the translation is considered as an affair that is not only high-tech but also high-speed. Multiple businesses around the globe require fast communications at extremely low rates without any distortion in the quality. It all is covered by the translation industry but it is the only way to enable communication between different people who speak different languages. 



Today, we will focus on the detailed history of translation. For the ease of our readers, we will divide the article into the following sections:


  • The word translation
  • Different eras of translation history
  • Present-day translation

The word translation

The word translation gets from a Latin expression, signifying “to convey across”. The prior antiquated Greek term, “metaphrasis” signifies “to talk across”. In both of these terms, there is the feeling of a hole, an inlet, and it is this distinction in human correspondence that is at the core of the fantasy of the Biblical Tower of Babel, where human discourse was broken in 1,000 tongues. However long people communicating in different languages have accumulated the requirement for somebody to reach over the separation and “to convey across” which means more likely than not been squeezing. Anthropologists can just theorize when our predecessors originally created language, however, it’s easy to envision these early people meeting different clans and expecting to break the language hindrance to exchange, intermarry or do battle.


Different eras of translation history

Following are the different eras of translation history:


Ancient times


The Western World respects the Bible translation from Hebrew to Greek as the main translation work vital. The translation was getting its name from the 70 individual interpreters who independently dealt with the translation in the third century BC. Every interpreter was bound in a cell or all the more presumably a room in the house. Rumors from far and wide suggest that notwithstanding working alone, every one of the 70 interpreters thought of indistinguishable translations. What’s more, get this, they labored for 72 days to complete the translation. The translation was read before the lord and sovereign. Each was given an impressive award before they were sent home. 


Around then, the Jews were scattered in different spots and they have failed to remember their primary language, Hebrew. Along these lines, they required another rendition of the Bible. The Septuagint adaptation of the Bible was utilized later as the source material for translations into Georgian, Armenian, Latin, and a few additional languages. While the translation of the Bible during the third century was a significant work, conversations crafted by human interpreters to bring across values among societies were already done in the second century BC during the hour of Terence, a well-known Roman dramatist. He adjusted a few comedies into Roman from the first Greek works. 


You’ll unquestionably appreciate the incredible personalities of these interpreters on the grounds that are certainly extraordinary masterminds too. In the third century, it is accepted that the ‘sense for sense’ term. As per records, St. Jerome said that the interpreter ought to decipher reasonably rather than word for word. A similar idea was repeated by Roman author and rationalist, Cicero. He said that translation ought not to be word for word in his work. For him, the interpreted words ought not to be included in weight instead of in coins. 


Another renowned interpreter from ancient history is the interpreter, researcher, and Buddhist priest, Kum?raj?va. He is acclaimed for interpreting Buddhist writings in Sanskrit into Chinese in the fourth century. Among his translations, the most famous is ‘Jewel Sutra,” which has a place with East Asia’s Mahayana sutra. It is significant in the investigation of Zen Buddhism and a reverential article. The translation significantly impacts Buddhism in China because of its context-oriented delivery, making the translation clear.


Middle age times


From the fifth century onwards, not many translations of works in the Latin language were accessible in like manner languages since Latin was the famous language. Alfred the Great, who was the lord of England during the ninth century, authorized the Latin to English translation of The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius and Ecclesiastical History by Bede. The translations added to the improvement of English composition during the hour of King Alfred the Great. The establishment of the modern Spanish language was set up with the assistance of a gathering of interpreters from the Toledo School of Translators in the twelfth and thirteenth hundreds of years. A few of them came from different pieces of Europe to chip away at the translations of significant clinical, scientific, strict, and philosophical works into Castilian and Latin from Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic. 


During the thirteenth century, Roger Bacon, an English etymologist, established that an interpreter should be completely educated in the source and target languages to have the option to deliver a precise translation. Simultaneously, he already settled that the interpreter ought to likewise be a topic master. That is the means by which old the idea is. In the fourteenth century, the principal translation of the Bible from Latin to English was finished by John Wycliffe. It was likewise during this century that Geoffrey Chaucer, a creator, writer, and interpreter, deciphered crafted by Boethius from Latin into English and the French word to English. He additionally did numerous translations of works by Italian creators into English.


French and American revolutions


In this century, the worry of numerous interpreters was focused on making reading the translated material simpler. Precision was not yet a major issue for the interpreters. If they figured a passage may cause fatigue or they neglected to comprehend a section, they excluded them. They had the bogus impression that their translation style is the most appropriate wherein the source material ought to adjust to their translation. They were even striking enough to do translations into languages they scarcely talk. Ignacy Krasicki, an encyclopedist from Poland expressed that the interpreter has a special impact in the public arena, portraying that translation work is a fine art and difficult work. He said that translation ought to just be finished by individuals who are equipped for seeing a superior application for deciphering others’ work as opposed to making their own. They should put translation at a more significant level of administration for their country.


Early modern times; Industrial revolution


Translation in this century is about style and precision, with the translation strategy focused on text. Since it is the Victorian period, the risqué language was the exemption for the standard. Clarifications in references were likewise considered significant and interpreters meant to tell readers that the content or book they were appreciating were translations of unfamiliar firsts. 


The nineteenth-century achieved numerous speculations about translation. For Friedrich Schleiermacher of Germany, the translation could utilize two translation strategies: straightforwardness or taming, which carries the author to the readers, and loyalty or foreignization, which carries the readers to the essayist. Then again, the Chinese interpreter and researcher Yan Fu, fostered a three-aspect translation hypothesis, in view of his broad involvement with the English to Chinese translation of sociologies records. Among the speculations, Yan Fu considers expressiveness the most crucial, since it permits the conveyance of the substance’s significance to its intended interest group. In his hypothesis, it implied changing the names into Chinese and changing the word request to fit the necessities of the Chinese language. His hypotheses hugely affected translation work across the globe.


Present-day translation


Translation Studies, which initially began in the last piece of the twentieth century is already a scholastic course today. It incorporates different subjects, like wording, semiotics, reasoning, philology, phonetics, and relative writing. It expects understudies to pick their strength, to get legitimate preparation either in abstract, scientific, or lawful translation. 


Contemporary interpreters improved languages through loanwords and getting terms from source languages into target languages. Innovation and the Internet made a worldwide market for language administrations, including the formation of translation programming and limitation administrations. It made positions for interpreters all throughout the planet, permitting numerous to be independent interpreters who can look for some kind of employment without leaving their homes or their nations. Functioning as interpreters opened new freedoms to bilingual individuals who secure the essential abilities to be proficient interpreters. They figure out how to utilize translation memory devices and other CAT apparatuses to accelerate the way toward deciphering records. 


Be that as it may, the current circumstance is the converse of the situation with interpreters from Antiquity until the archaic years. Interpreters before were perceived as researchers, specialists, scholastics, and creators. Today, interpreters are practically imperceptible as their names don’t regularly show up in the archives they invested such a lot of energy to decipher. 


We can conclude the topic by saying that the history of translation is very dense and information. However, the many interesting contributions that we have discussed above have altogether made history worth reading for. 

Also, read Theory and Practice of Translation