Professional Latin Translation

Latin originated in a region around ancient Rome called Latium. It went on to achieve significance as the formal language of the Roman Empire. Language translation experts who specialize in English to Latin translation would obviously need to study the language in detail. But language translators who work with any of the Romance languages like French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese etc. would also receive great help from the study of Latin because Romance languages descend from Latin.

To this day one can find many Latin words in the various Romance languages. According to linguists, about 80% of scholarly English words have been derived from Latin, these include words that have Greek origins, as well as thousands of French, Italian, and Spanish words that originated from Latin and eventually found a home in the English vocabulary.

Latin served as the lingua franca for the West – it was the language of choice for scientific and political realms, it dominated the west for over a thousand years before being replaced by French and English in the 18th and late 19th century respectively.

Though Vulgar Latin and its grammar served as the starting point, as well as the foundation of grammar for most of the European languages, those working in the area of English to Latin translation should be aware that English grammar has over time become completely independent of Latin. However since prescriptive English grammarians were influenced by Latin and there have been attempts to make English grammar follow Latin rules, but these attempts have not achieved success in regular usage.

At present Latin is taught in high schools and universities, these courses chiefly prepare learners for translating Latin texts into modern languages. Since Latin is not used for communication by the masses, the courses emphasize on reading skills while ignoring listening and speaking skills.

Though the English and Latin alphabet are almost same the differences in their grammar is significant, some facts which English to Latin translators should be aware of are –

  • In Latin, the use of articles is not necessary. However Latin grammar requires adjectives to agree with nouns that they describe. In English grammar, the opposite is true that is articles are used, but endings are not associated with adjectives.
  • Another crucial difference is that the order of words is very important in the English language but not in Latin.
  • Latin has more noun cases compared to English. In English, noun cases are primarily associated with pronouns. Furthermore in English language nouns do not have any gender, but in Latin they do.

Since Ecclesiastical Latin serves as the official language of Vatican City and the Catholic Church has considerable power over the world, Latin would probably survive for a long time to come. Moreover, the rare nature of the language makes Latin translation experts quite sought after.