Translation services – dead languages

22,Jun,2009

Although translation services into German, French and other European languages probably account for a large proportion of our requests, we occasionally receive requests to translate to and from languages that are classed as “dead” – i.e. languages that are rarely used except in certain scientific, legal, or ecclesiastical functions – such as Ancient Greek and Latin. 

The majority of translation requests from Latin are for university certificates, engravings, wills, title deeds, botanical and religious information, which in many countries are still written in Latin, as well as requests for university foundation charters. Translations that we have encountered into Latin often revolve around the translation of mottos and tattoos – as any football fan will know, most football clubs have a Latin motto under their crest. Latin was the formal language of the Roman Empire and is the basis for all Romance languages (which was derived from what was known as Vulgar Latin), such as French, Spanish and Italian. Ecclesiastical Latin remains the formal language of the Roman Catholic Church to this day, which makes it the official national language of the Vatican. The Church used Latin as its primary liturgical language until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Translation services of Ancient Greek texts (the language of Homer and the Athenian Golden age), in our experience, also revolve around such items as epitaphs, vase inscriptions or completing translations of ancient text (such as theatre or poetry) into English, whilst translations into Ancient Greek can be for tattoos or a special message for a loved one! However, it’s not just individuals who want this type of work completing – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – was recently translated into Ancient Greek!

Despite the fact that the number of translators working into and from Latin and Ancient Greek is limited compared with many other languages, The Translation People works with a number of translators who are able to complete translations from and into these dead languages!

For more information on the translation services we offer, please contact our team on 0845 643 0622