Translations Influencing the Course of History

The act of translating a text can sometimes have effects that run much deeper than the agent in charge of performing the translation may be aware.  All it takes is a cursory look at history to appreciate this fact.

For example, the translation of the Bible into Latin was a major contributing factor to the consolidation of Christianity throughout Europe during the dusk of the Roman Empire and following its fall.  Likewise, the translation of the Bible into various vernacular languages centuries later (such as Martin Luther’s translation into German) were precipitous of the split in the Church, a historical event known as the Protestant Reformation.

All in all, translation is by and large an inglorious, unsung affair; but every once in a while there is a translation of such importance, of such weight that the world perceives it as a before-and-after marker.

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