The History of Translation
The History of Translation is full of mysticism, legends and theories, and there is probably no way to know which one is right. If only The Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt hadn’t burn we might still have a chance to answer this questions, but, as this is also a legend (and there is no way to travel back to the past yet), is up to you to believe which theory makes more sense.
You might at first entered this article thinking you will be encountering some sort of compendium of specific dates, names and facts. But the truth is translation history is very different from the history of other disciplines you might think of.
We will try to recall the origin of translation, and give us a way to think about the importance of translation, its temporal chronology and try to remember the names of those who left their mark on this science.
The First Translations
Translation was believed to be born somewhere in the region of Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Egypt, with some conflicting theories among translators about the precise region where the first translation was done.
What was the first translation in history?
One of the most accepted theories states that the first translation known was a poem called The Epic of Gilgamesh, originally written in Sumerian and translated into a variety of Asian languages.
Another widely accepted hypothesis believes that the Rosseta Stone, an ancient Egyptian stone inscribed with a decree, issued at Memphis in 196 BC, was the first piece of translation.
Although these theories contradict each other, we can state that the first reflections on the Translation discipline go back more than 2,000 years. Since then, it has evolved over time and has ended up becoming translation as we understand it today.
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