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‘Translate’ and ‘interpret’ in the European languages

22 April 2015

Presenter: Professor Peter Hill

The expressions for ‘translate’ and ‘interpret’ in the European languages (work in progress)

Humanities Research Centre, ANU

part of the Language Change seminar series

Professor Hill has been examining the claim that Slavonic and Germanic languages make calques of the Latin words for ‘translation’ – transferre, translatum, which is at root ‘carry across’ or ‘lead across’. He noted how the German ubersetzen has become over time morphologically differentiated from ‘carry across’ as a material process. The distinction of interpreting as a spoken form and translating as a written form was traced through many Slavonic languages.

Relevance to the study

Paths of cultural influence may be responsible for the journey of phraseological and semantic calques across Europe. This relates to the possible transmission paths of the expression and the concept of “me pinxit” or “me fecit” across Western Europe.


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