This week, I started a Training called “Language Independent Translator Training Program” with MCIS. In one of the sessions, we had an activity where we shared, how do we say the word “Translator” in different languages, and the etymology of this word in them. We learnt some interesting definitions of Translator / Translate.
Here, I am going to write some of them. Not all the words that I write in this page were mentioned in the training session.
According to http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=translate the word “Translate” comes from Latin “translatus”, via Old French “translater”. It means: “to turn from one language to another”, but also means “to remove from one place to another”. According to The New college Latin and English dictionary (2007), the verb “translate” can be translated in Latin as “Transferre”, “convertere”. The word “Translator” is translated in Latin as “Interpres”.
In Spanish, “to Translate” is “Traducir”, According to https://etimologia.wordpress.com/2007/07/12/traducir/, This word comes from Latin “traducere”. According to The New college Latin and English dictionary (2007), “traducere” means “To bring Across”, Other Romance languages, have similar origin, like “traduire” (French), “tradurre” (Italian), “traduir” (Catalan), “traduzir” (Portuguese), “traduceți” (Romanian). In Esperanto, we have the verb “traduki”, which also comes from this same root.
According to The Oxford New Greek Dictionary (2008) American Edition, In Greek, the verb “To Translate” is “μεταφράζω” (Metafrázo). While I was researching about the different terms for Translation, I found that Bruno Rochette, a Scholar from the University of Liège, wrote a paper about terminologies for translation in Greek and Latin, where he describes Rome as a real civilization of translation, where the use of other languages, including Greek, played a more relevant role. This may explain that there are more terms related with translation from Latin than from Greek.
In cultures related with the Middle East, words for translation related with the root “trgm” in Akkadian, meaning “translation”. According to Marcus Jastrow, ספר המלים , the word “ תרגום ” (Targum) means in Aramaic “interpretation”, “Translation”, while “תרגומא“ (Targuma) means “Loud Speech”. In the Jewish tradition, the “Targumim” were spoken paraphrases, in which a rabbi explained the texts using a common language that listeners could understand. Aramaic was for long time this common language. Via Aramaic, this word arrived to other Semitic languages and other non-Semitic languages from the same area. The word “Translation” can be “תרגום “ (Targum) in Hebrew, “ترجمة “ (tarjama) in Arabic, “ترجمه “ (tarjumeh) in Persian, “Tarjima” in Uzbek, “Tǝrcümǝ” in Azeri.
Special interest was generated by this word translated into Chinese, which is “翻译者” (Fān yì zhě), I research this word in different dictionaries, and I found that the word “Translator” can be written in Chinese using the characters 翻译者 in simplified Chinese, or 翻譯者 in Traditional. According to Kun Ho Park and Kyung Yong Kong (2013) “Enjoy Learning Chinese Characters, Discover their Hidden Meaning” Seul, Korea: Kong & Park, Inc, the meanings of those characters are: 翻 (Fān) = Turn Over, 譯 (yì) = translate, 者 (zhě) = Person who has qualities, other dictionaries translate this last as “Profession”. According to this same book, the character譯 is composed by the following characters: 言 + 睪 where言 (yán) = word, 睪 (yì) = peep.
“Translator” can be translated in other languages as: “översättare” in Swedish, “Cyfieithydd” in Welsh, “перекладач” (perekladach) in Ukrainian, “þýðandi” in Icelandic, “übersetzer” in German.
Happy International Translation day to all my friends who are language lovers and professionals and to all my readers!