History of Translation by Jean Delisle


The history of translation is a crucial component of Translation Studies and it serves several important functions in shedding light on the role and significance of translation over the centuries. As an agent of progress in various fields of human activity, translation has always shown a strong link with the evolution of civilisations, religions, cultures, literatures, sciences and industries. At the same time, there is also a strong connection between history and translation theory. If translation theory is not placed correctly in its original historical context, we run the risk of focusing too much on the empirical function of the different theoretical approaches, thus diminishing their cultural significance. The history of translation thus helps us to understand the complexity of translation strategies and theories, and this is perhaps its most significant contribution to translation studies.

In this section, our objective is to highlight a portion of the historical research and dissemination activities related to translation that were collected by Jean Delisle during his extensive tenure at the University of Ottawa. This content, originally preserved in digital format on a CD-ROM that Delisle personally collaborated on with a programmer (Delisle and Lafond, 2003), is now accessible on this website.
Our heartfelt thanks go to Professor Emeritus Jean Delisle, who not only created this impressive archive over the course of his career but also made it available to everyone, enabling us to create this website.

The website includes the following sections:

Theses, books and texts: PDF volumes, collections, theses and articles covering various aspects of translation history. Some contents are in several European languages, mainly English.

Translations: Translations of particularly significant texts, such as some chapters of Baldassarre Castiglione's 'Il Cortegiano' translated into English by Sir Thomas Hoby, or Horace's 'Ars Poetica' translated by Leon Golden, or Milton's 'Paradise Lost' translated by Chateaubriand.

Portraits: Short biographies of famous translators in PDF format in both French and English.

Biographical notes: Biographical notes of translators and interpreters from different countries and periods.

Glossary: A collection of the main terms and concepts related to the history of translation that Delisle has collected throughout his career.

Anecdotes: A collection of mottos and aphorisms related to the history of translation.