The History and Origins of Translation – Part 2

History has seen many translators, who are often unknown characters that have paved the way for great ideas of work and contributed amazing knowledge to the world. Some translators even lost their lives for their work, perhaps the most infamous being William Tyndale, an English scholar who translated the Bible into English and was subsequently executed for it. Tyndale’s translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts and was the first to take advantage of the printing press. He was arrested and later executed on grounds of heresy, but eventually King Henry VIII authorised the Great Bible for the Church of England which was mostly Tyndale’s work and became known as the Tyndale Bible. Later, in 1611, 54 scholars produced the famous King James Bible which drew significantly from Tyndale, with an estimate of 83% of the New Testament being drawn Tyndale’s work and the Old Testament 76%.

Other notable translators include Constance Garnett and Edward George Seidensticker who translated Russian and Japanese texts respectively into English. Garnett has since been credited with bringing Russian influences into English literature by inspiring writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Seidensticker’s translations of Kawabata’s work are generally credited with helping Kawabata secure the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, the first Japanese writer to receive the award. These two examples clearly illustrate the importance of translation and its impact on history and culture.

Translation and the Future

Whilst translation has played a pivotal role on the history of the World, it can be argued that tools such as Emojis are reducing the need for translation. Emojis were created as a way for Japanese phone users to add visual aspect to their messages without throwing huge chunks of data to the wind; Japanese users were commonly utilizing the function to convey their thoughts in a more colourful manner, but their phones were unfit to process the quantities of the data that were involved in the task, hence the Emoji keyboard was created for pictorial images to be sent as an integrated part of the message. They allow users who don’t speak the same language to communicate, as they are both pictorial and ideographic symbols, they can clearly show a sad face and convey the idea of sadness. Despite their surprisingly complex and thought-provoking nature it is unlikely there is any chance of Emojis replacing text altogether, with their use very frowned upon in formal settings. An example of some of the most popular Emojis can be seen below:

Translation has clearly shaped the culture and world that we know today; once the Industrial Revolution took root, the economy grew in a rapid pace. Swifter letter related production was brought about by the newly crafter machinery and tools, meaning more time could be invested in the inner workings of the company and how to enter foreign markets. But it is since the advent of the Internet that the dawn of modern translating practices began, with the ability to access and translate texts from all over the world and modern tools such as Google Translate, generations will benefit and shape how translations are used for the foreseeable future.

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