Hermes—God of Translators and Interpreters

Hermes—God of Translators and Interpreters

The Origins of Language
and the Prehistory of Interpreting
A historical inquiry into the earliest days of interpreting, demonstrating how they provide a window onto both the "prehistory" of translation and the origins of language. Paper presented at the Translation2000 Conference, sponsored by the NYU Translation Studies Program in March of that year and presented again in October in Mexico City at the Universidad Iberoamericana as part of their Jornadas Jeronimianas .
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Three-Sentence Précis of Paper:
The ancient Greek word for interpreter/translator is Hermêneus, directly related to the name of the god Hermes.
Its many further meanings—mediator, go-between, deal-broker, marriage-broker—open up a window onto the work of interpreters during prehistory.
And the knowledge that we gain of this prehistory thanks to these meanings provides an additional window opening onto the origins of language itself.

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