Anthropologists have been unable to pinpoint the precise time when humans began translating one language into another. Language is thought to have first appeared around 100,000 years ago. People only communicated verbally for hundreds of thousands of years. The cuneiform writing system was the first script, and it appeared around 2,000 years ago.

The Egyptians began to write down their beliefs in hieroglyphs, and people in the Indus River valley began to use signs that we have yet to decipher. In this blog post, we will attempt to recall the origins of translation, as well as provide a framework for considering the significance of translation, its temporal chronology, and the names of those who have left their imprint on this science.

‘The Word’ and ‘Word for Word’

Literal translation was the first type of translation. Translators were usually nomads who travelled around the world learning foreign languages by staying in one place long enough to “absorb” the native tongue. Trade and the spread of religion aided the development of literal translation. People would translate religious books using the “word for word” principle in order to avoid making errors when reading God’s words. In practice, literal translation was ineffective because style, grammar, and syntax were not taken into account.

Cicero’s ‘Meaningful’ Translation

People soon realized that literal translation wasn’t always the best option. Cicero, a famous Roman lawyer, writer, and orator, demonstrated that some holy books did not make sense, and their content was largely unintelligible, despite literal translations of every word.

He urged for a translation that preserved the text’s overall meaning while also adhering to linguistic standards. However, there were some disadvantages to meaningful translation. Because so much effort was put into preserving the original text’s substance, its historical and literary value often vanished.

‘Free Translation’ and the Enlightenment

The Enlightenment concept of the nation and the idea of promoting education gave rise to free translation at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was founded on the assumption that the translator is free to work with the text in order to please the reader. Popular classic works have been translated in a way that makes reading them enjoyable and comfortable.

Incorporation of Form and Content

For a long time, free translation was not used. It was quickly replaced by adequate translation, which is still used today to ensure the highest level of quality. This type of translation incorporates the text’s cultural adaptation as well as its functionality and basic meaning. This is especially true in literary translation, where originality is essential. The type of content you’re working with has an impact on the translation you’ll need. For example, in marketing, you must translate the meaning of words and consider their cultural connotations as well as any other implications. This is referred to as localization.

The translation industry underwent significant changes during the twentieth century, with the establishment of the first organizations to ensure compliance with quality standards and professional ethics. Translators received a steady influx of orders as globalization and internationalization progressed. The first computer-assisted machine translation tools appeared at the turn of the century, designed to assist translators in their work. As a result, translation has been a part of people’s lives for thousands of years, and it is an important task that continues to bring us all together in a variety of ways.

K&J Translations was founded on the translation service, so if your company requires a translation, contact us and we will connect you with one of our expert translators who will deliver high-quality work in a timely manner.