The History of Translations

The History of Translations
The History of Translations

Human language is a vast territory to tackle. It is a complex topic that even master linguists managed to agree that it is better to leave its origin unanswered. Fortunately, for the history of translations, we have a number of manuscripts and citations to refer to. It is, therefore, easier to trace its history and origin.

Even though translation has been recorded much later than writing, the origin of language translation has been connected with the development of writing. Perhaps, it is due to the reason that conversion of language became a requirement for written texts. This is evident to ancient relics of clay tablets with bilingual and even trilingual translation. We can therefore assume that the requirement for language translation has been in demand since the early times.

Looking at the history of translation, early records shows most translated writings are financial records, ritual practices and other literary and philosophical texts. Cross-culture interaction has paved the way for translation to spread throughout the world. Trading and ideas from the East have influenced the Western and Mediterranean countries to use translations. This became significant especially when doing business dealings. Through Spain, the proliferation of translation started in Europe.

From the middle of the 8th century to the end of the 10th, Greek to Arabic translation was widespread. Then the translation of Arabic to Latin became prevalent during the 12th – 13th century. Various translation schools have then been established in Spain to cater the demand of language conversions. This paved the way for the European Renaissance, coined as “the great age of translations.” At this point, conversion of various book and manuscripts has been done. Translation became more phenomenal and prevalent during the 16th century.

Over the next decade, Latin and older languages declined popularity and another language, English, has gradually become common. The rest, as they say, is history.