One of the most important catalysts in helping to understand how ancient societies interacted is the process of translation. As studying the history of translation allows scholars to learn more about how translation has left its imprint on the world, the translation industry today has grown to new heights. With today’s translation market exceeding $30 billion in net worth, the need for translation remains higher than ever.

The History of Translation and Its Impact

Translation services have had a remarkable impact on the world, as the practice gives people the opportunity to understand the meaning of several languages. Consequently, studying the history of translation has allowed society to learn a lot about cultures and civilizations that existed many centuries ago.

While translation services are sometimes used interchangeably with interpretation services, translation involves converting a source language from written text, while interpretation requires doing so orally.

Learning about the history of translation has enabled scholars to understand a lot about ancient cultures – and even today translation history can teach us a lot about civilizations that have long since passed. Without the impact made by linguists working throughout the history of translation, we would not be able to comprehend the contextual meanings that exist in a diverse amount of historical scripts.

Some of The Early History of Translation

Translation services were very common throughout Ancient societies in the Middle East, and the abundance of languages between ancient kingdoms developed the need for people to communicate through language barriers. At around 2500 BC, clay tablets were used to decipher symbols from Sumerian and Eblaite, which were ancient Semitic languages.

Translation History and the Translation Industry-Hieroglyphics

Hieroglyphics from both of these languages and many others were also inscribed on the Rosetta Stone – a stone slab that was discovered in 1799 by members of Napoleon’s French army. The Rosetta Stone was a major finding as it not only represented ancient translation efforts, but it gave modern scholars the chance to study and translate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Among the most famous translators to work on translating Egyptian hieroglyphics from the Rosetta Stone was French scholar Jean-François Champollion. Champollion successfully translated a decree that was inscribed on the stone in 3 different scripts – Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek.