– Can you swim?
– No, but I can call for help in nine languages.
Yes, not the funniest joke. And although translation and tagalog to english translator, most likely, will not save a drowning man, it is still present around all of us and certainly has a place in your life.
As the Bible tells us, translators have been needed since the time of the Tower of Babel. And this need gave impetus to the emergence of a whole myriad of thoughts – both real and utopian – about the correct conduct of communication.
Interpretation is as old as the language itself. People always spoke different languages, so there was always a need for an intermediary. But for the translation of the written, scientists still calculated the approximate date of birth.
Writing appeared about 5000 years ago, but translation activities began to exist only about 2500 years ago. The first two examples of translation appeared around the same time.
In the middle of the 3rd century BC, a group of Greek-speaking Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, translated the Torah into Greek. This translation was named “Septuagint” and since then has been overgrown with many myths and legends. And the texts of the Old Testament older than the Greek translation have not survived.
There are different options for creating a translation. According to one of the stories, Ptolemy II, while compiling the great library of Alexandria, tried to get hold of every book known in the world, and also ordered to translate the holy book of the Jews.
According to another story, the Jews of Alexandria forgot the language of the Bible and therefore needed a translation into Greek.
Meanwhile, during the several decades of the creation of the Septuagint, in the Mediterranean, in the southern part of Italy, the slave and bearer of the Greek Livy Andronicus was called to translate Homer’s Odyssey from Greek into Latin. Thus, he gave birth to the classical tradition. According to the famous translator and writer David Bellos, we can say that this very translation of Homer was the starting point for the development of literature in Latin.
So they translated from Hebrew into Greek, from Greek into Latin, but what impact did the translation into English have?
David Bellos says that English was generally created by translation – from Latin, and even earlier – from French. A huge number of words came into English from French, which was spoken by the Normans, and from Anglo-Saxon. And, consequently, “often in English there are two words for the same thing – one of French origin, the other – Saxon. For example, sheep and mutton (ram, sheep). Sheep are those who were herded by the peasants, and their owners devoured mutton at a meal. Mutton is a French word, sheep is German or Saxon. ”
It turns out that in the process of communication, native English speakers constantly translate these two languages, and also choose words depending on how high or low the register of speech should be at the moment.
Here is an example of a word that came into English solely thanks to translation – robot. It is actually a Czech noun that appeared in English in 1930 through translations of science fiction by the Czech writer Karel Čapek. In his language, robot means “worker.”
David Bellos is not only a linguist, he has long been a translator of literature from French. And although he does not consider translation a vocation, he nevertheless admits that a special kind of relationship develops between the translator and the author. For example, unlike the reader, the translator cannot “slip” through the boring parts of the work. He passes through himself every single word.
“In a sense, the translator of the new book knows it better than anyone else, and this is a huge privilege and a real pleasure,” admitted Bellos.