Storia della traduzione [Introduzione]

History of Translation [Introduction]

The translation of this article was produced in collaboration with the Archimede Higher Education Institute in San Giovanni in Persiceto.

Translation, a largely underrated art, comes along with man from the beginning of civilization and it has had an essential impact on culture, religion, science, languages themselves and a lot other sectors.

Even today translators carry out a fundamental job, making literary works, inventions, instruction manuals, speeches, clinical diagnosis, criminal and civil proceedings, contracts, notarial acts, websites and much more accessible to people speaking different languages.

Translators have created and continue to create bridges, bridges that don’t fall down and connect people all over the world.

Translators don’t create their own work and in some way it can be said that they “sacrifice” their own creativity in order to make others’ understandable.

However, this isn’t completely true, as the work of a translator involves a lot of imagination and  creativity and can be seen as an somewhere between scientific and artistic.

One thing is certain. Translation is a service rendered to mankind, of essential importance, even though we talk about it very little. It is also the greatest weapons against racism and prejudice between people.

Translators, bridge-builders, have made possible the transmission of ideas from a one civilization to another and have contributed to the development of modern languages and even national identities. Translators have made possible the development of trade, medicine and science.

How have translators shaped modern languages? How important is a translation? When was it born?

During their work, translators borrowed words from the source language they were translating, used loan words and adaptations, introduced neologisms  and even slogans, enriching the target language (for example, truly the word “target” is a linguistic loan word form English, which has entered into common use in the Italian language and in other languages, in the sense of aim, purpose, destination).

Today, translators work “in the making”, whereas in the past they were often famous people. Perhaps it would be a good idea to give translators back some of the fame and limelight they deserve.

Especially now that the Internet and the globalisation of trade, tourism and culture have made translations and other language services an essential factor in the success of any company and for the promotion of any nation.

Set off with us on an exciting adventure into the history of translation!

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