Abstract and Keywords
This essay seeks to place translation within a broad spectrum of bilingual practice. It shows the basic distinction but also the substantial overlap between oral and written transmission in the ancient and modern worlds, and focuses on issues of trust, prestige and cultural mixing in the history of translation practice. It argues that Roman translation models continue to shape modern approaches to the field. Discussion on why resistance may lie behind the paucity of translations in some languages. Issues raised by the transmission of religious texts have had special impact on the idea of translation, which nonetheless has remained as ‘fuzzy’ in practice in modern times as it was under the Roman Empire.
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