Translation is a medium of communication as well as an art. Relations among numerous nations are not possible without translation. Since the ancient times, nations used the services of translators. People, who were mastered in two or more languages, conveyed the words of parties among one another. Translators performed their duties on good and bad occasions. The word ‘translation’ is derived from the Latin word ‘translatio’ which means “to carry across” and “to bring across”.

 The translation history of various nations differs from one another. The Western history of translation is quite different from Arabic translation history.


Western history based on the story of Bible. According to Bible, after the great flood, the descendents of Noah settled down in plain in the land of Shinar. Instead of settled down the society as the God’s desire, they committed great sin. They built a big tower which according to them could reach Heaven. They challenged God’s authority. God punished them and caused them to speak different languages. They were unable to understand each other. Later, they were scattered in different parts of the world. After that incident, people started to seek the possible ways to communicate each other.                                 

St. Jerome marked fourth century as another main period of translation. For more than a thousand years, the translation of Bible remained controversial issue in West. The invention of printing techniques in fifteenth century; developed the field of translation.  The seventeenth century translators introduced three types of translation,

                                            i.            metaphrase

                                          ii.            paraphrase

                                        iii.            imitation

Sir John Denhom, Abraham Cowley, John Dryden and Alexander Pope are the top famous seventeenth century translators. In eighteenth century, the translators were compared to artists and the study of translation was started systematically. Alexander Frayer Tayler was the renowned translator of that era and his achievements in the development of translation are unremarkable. Poetic translation became very popular in nineteenth century. But in twentieth century, study of translation became a part of learning in schools. For instance, grammar translation was also introduced. This grammar translation opened the new ways to students to learn the grammatical structure and rules of foreign languages. Nowadays with the invention of internet, field of translation has become very advance.


Arab history belongs to the Syrians; who translated into Arabic, a vast material on the subject of Paganism. The Syrians were influenced by the Greek translators. Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) played very important role in the translation history of Arab. For the communication with non-Arabs as Jews, Romans and others, pushed the Prophet (PBUH) to look the translators; and later He encouraged the learning of foreign languages. Zaid Ibnu Thabet was the most famous translator of this era. Salman Al Farsi translated the meanings of Surat al Fateha into Persian. Translation of Holy Quran into different foreign languages was a significant work done by early Muslims. The early translators of Quran focused on its meanings, and these translations are still preserving in Western libraries. 

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