A Brief History of Translation


From 3000 BC onwards (Ancient Egypt) Translation became important in the West from 300 BC • Romans took over Greek culture • To enrich their native tongue/literature (not just imitate) • sense for sense not word for word (Cicero 106-43 BC, Horace 65-8 BC) • Considerable licence 12th-15th century • 1492: Spanish kings/queens reconquered Spain from Moors • Toledo School of translators translated Arabic versions of Greek science/philosophy into Spanish Bible translation: from 4th century onwards • 384 BC: Pope Damascus commissioned St Jerome to translate NT into Latin (from Greek) and OT (from Hebrew) • 1380-84: John Wycliffe: first complete translation into English • Developing Reformation • Revisions by John Purvey (1408), William Tyndale (1526), Myles Coverdale (1535) 16th century • Bible translated into many European languages (RC and Protestant) • Martin Luther (1522) into German • 1611: King James Bible (English) Aims of 16th century translators: • Clarify errors of previous editions • Produce accessible vernacular style • Clarify dogma Middle Ages • Emergence of national vernaculars from 10th century

• Vertical v. horizontal translation • From prestige language to vernacular (Latin to French) or between SLs of similar status (Norman French to English) Theorists: Roger Bacon (1214-92), Dante (1265-1321), John of Trevisa (1326-1412) Renaissance: 14th (Italy) - 17th century (Reformation) • Etienne Dolet (1509-46) • George Chapman (1559-1634) • Philemon Holland (1552-1637) • Focus on the individual: bold, revolutionaty, nationalistic 17th – 18th century • Rules of aesthetic production • Increased translation of the classics (French classical theatre, 1625-60) • Imitation of classical models • Tended to emphasise ‘spirit’ of the original • Sir John Denham (1615-69) • Abraham Cowley (1618-67) • John Dryden (1631-1700): metaphrase, paraphrase, imitation • Alexander Pope (1688-1744) • Johann Wolfgang von Geothe (1749-1832) •...