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Tuesday 10, March 2015 20:21:39

Translation: (a bridge between two cultures)- A brief history

The word translation is derived from the Latin word "translatio" which means "to carry across".
In simple words, translation means converting the message of one: (source)-language into another :(target) language.

Let us peep into history of translation in the English speaking Western countries. The Greeks and the Romans had a great influence on the art and literature of these countries.

The ancient Romans considered the Greek literature as a role model and lot of Greek literature was translated into Latin. The First century, linguist, Quintilian, emphasized the importance of translation in the children’s education. He also strongly recommended that the children should learn to translate the Greek literature into Latin to improve their linguistic skills.
Cicero and Horace were the first two people who commented on translation. Cicero was a Roman philosopher who translated Greek philosophical works into Latin. He is also considered as one of the first theoreticians of the translation practice. He stated that that translation should capture the essence of the original. The translator should feel the soul of the content and should give sensible, rather than ‘word to word’ translation.

Horace, the great Roman poet was also a translator. But for him translation was a means of enriching his own language and literature. He too did not believe in word to word translation. He used to borrow words from the original, and coined new words in his own language. He nurtured his own language through the means of Translation.

Thus the Romans did not believe in word to word translations. But they always aimed to enhance the beauty of the translated content by using their own linguistic skills. Most of the Romans were educated and bilingual, so they could enhance their linguistic skills and showed creativity in translation. Translation of Bible is another example of historical translation, which shows a valuable contribution done in the field of translation.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, the language of the Jews. With the spread of Christianity, there was a need to translate the Bible into another language of that region. However clergymen from some sections opposed for such translation as they believed that it was a sin to translate the word of God. When Rome came under the influence of Christianity, the earlier translations of the Bible was done into Latin. However the names of those ancient translators are not known.

Translations of the Bible paved the way for the development of English as a language. The end of Roman era led to splitting up of England into small kingdoms like North Umbria, Mercia, East Anglia, etc. The Romans brought Christianity to England. However the Bible was translated only much later, in medieval times when England felt that it was a self-reliant country. The English translation was done as a move to defiance the clergymen who believed that only they have the right to understand and interpret the Bible. One of the early translators of the Bible into English was John Wycliffe who believed that the common man should understand the Bible. He therefore wrote it in simple English .It was published in 1382.

There were other translations that too became very important William Tyndale translated the Bible from Greek to English and published it in 1526. However he was punished for the act.

Miles Coverdale was the first to translate and publish the complete Bible in English. Later in 1611 the King James Bible was considered as an Authorized Version of the Bible. These translations strengthened the English language.
However the Bible was not only translated into English; but also in European languages like Dutch, German, Swedish and Danish. In 1522, the translation of “Martin Luther” into German, led the foundation for standard German.