10 Interesting Facts About Translations

by | Feb 15, 2022 | Translation & Localisation

Peter Newmark defines translation as ”a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or a statement in one language by the same message and or statement in another language”

Here are 10 interesting facts about translation:

  1. The etymological origin of the word “translation” comes from the Latin word translatio, trans “across” + ferre, “to carry” (as -latio is the past participle of ferre), its intrinsic meaning is “carrying across” or “bringing across”. In this case, a text and its meaning from a language to another.
  2. The art of translation was performed already 2000 years ago. It started with the translation into Greek of the Old Testament.
  3. Religion played a key role in the development of the art of translation. The patron of translators is St. Jerome, know for his Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, and is considered a doctor of the church.
  4. The Bible is the most translated book of all times. The original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek writings contain approximately 611,000 words and it was translated into 3,384 languages.
  5. The idea of Machine translation (MT) was proposed in 1940. “On March 4th, 1947, Warren Weaver, director of the Division of Natural Sciences at the Rockefeller Foundation, wrote a letter that made him become the pioneer of modern MT.” In that letter to the cyberneticist Norbert Wiener, Weaver wrote that a most serious problem, for UNESCO and for the constructive and peaceful future of the planet is the problem of translation, as it affects the communication between peoples. He therefore asked if it was unthinkable to design a computer which would translate.
  6. The top 3 hardest languages to translate into are Chinese, Arabic and Japanese.
  7. The second most translated book in the World is “Le Petit Prince”, by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. It has been translated into around 300 languages.
  8. The most translated authors are Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and William Shakespeare.
  9. The language translation and interpretation is a $50 billion industry which is destined to grow further in the next years.
  10. The importance of translation was recognized by the UNESCO. It plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security. “Thus, on 24 May 2017, the General Assembly adopted resolution 71/288 on the role of language professionals in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development, and declared 30 September as International Translation Day”.

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