Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Translation and British History

Since I’ve lived in the UK for over six years now, I thought I ought to learn about British history. And when I was in the library, I just happened to see “British History for Dummies” on the shelf, so I grabbed it.

Interestingly – and not surprisingly – translation comes up as an issue through British history. For example, Alfred the Great, who lived in the ninth century, not only Beat the Vikings, but he also created legal codes, commissioned the writing of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, and got many important Latin works translated into Anglo-Saxon.

Then, King Henry VIII, who drastically re-shaped religion in England, also influenced translation, in particular of the bible. He had William Tyndale put to death for translating the New Testament into English, but then he distributed Miles Coverdale’s full translation to all parishes just a few years later.

But, of course, it was really King James I who got the bible translated into its best-known English format, which is generally referred to as the King James bible.

Did you know British history was so intertwined with translation?

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