When you think about translation, you may feel like it's not among the oldest trades. However, translation is one of the oldest skills, dating back to the earliest history. That means that translators have been notable members of society, leaving their mark throughout history.
This is why it's no wonder that there are numerous famous translators we need to know about and acknowledge their contribution to literacy, literature, science, and the academic world in general. We've created a list of the most famous translators in history that you need to know about.

1. St. Jerome ((347-420 AD)

St. Jerome is mostly known for his translation of the Bible, from Greek into Latin and Hebrew. He was a priest who spoke all the above languages and create the Vulgate- the official translation of the Bible.
His translation was the only one to be used for the entire next millennium, which places him among the most notable translators in history. 

2. Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

Borges is a world-renowned Argentinian writer who wrote short stories, poems, and essays. However, he was also a skilled translator, whose first translation was published at the age of 9, when he translated The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde into Spanish.
Later on, Borges continued to translate into Spanish and dealt with authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, Walt Whitman, Hermann Hesse, Virginia Woolf, Rudyard Kipling, and many others.
He's also known for his somewhat loose translation style, in which he allowed himself a bit more personal creativity than what would be considered regular in today's literary translations. In case you need a translation of any kind, TheWordPoint can help you out. They provide strictly professional and by-the-book translation services. 

3. Claudine Picardet (1735-1820)

Claudine Picardet was a French chemist and scientific translator. She is on this list for her translations of scientific articles, documents, and papers from Italian, German, English, and Swedish into French. 
A great example of her superb work is the translation of a set of chemical essays of Karl Scheele, which were originally written in German, then translated into Swedish, and then into French by Picardet.

4. Constance Garnett (1861-1946)

Constance Garnett is another prominent female translator who became famous for her translations of Russian literature. She was the first one to translate almost all of Dostoevsky's fiction into English. Apart from his literary work, she also translated Chekhov and Tolstoy.
Her translations were criticized by some authors, including Vladimir Nabokov, for her tendency of leaving out words she did not understand. Still, she translated 71 volumes of Russian literature during her translation career, forever leaving a mark in the history of translation.

5. Gaspar Antonio Chi (1531—1610)

Gaspar Antonio Chi was an Indian interpreter born in Yucatán. He spoke Spanish, Latin, and Maya languages and was a translator and interpreter between the Spanish and the Mayans.
He's known for his role as the interpreter of King Charles V of Spain.

6. Gregory Rabassa (1922-2016)

Finally, Gregory Rabassa was an American literary translator who brought numerous Spanish and Portuguese literary pieces to the English-speaking audience.
He translated famous works from Julio Cortazar, Jorge Amado and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He was personally praised by Marquez for his translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Final Thoughts

Translation has been an important part of the history of all cultures, countries, and people. Famous translators from our list contributed to the education and cultural enrichment of the people who read their translations.
Hopefully, this list will inspire you to continue reading about the history of translation and the importance of translation altogether.


Melony Hart