Culture

7 Women Translators Who Made History

Women have played a crucial role in translation for a long time,translating classical literature, non-secular texts and have helped to popularize and democratize access to several authors we still read nowadays.
Rodrigo Demetrio
2 min

We've compiled a list of some of the most remarkable women in translation history and what they have contributed, as a way to highlight their roles and make it known to everyone.

Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr

Katherine Parr's translation of Psalms and Prayers. Source: CBC Radio.Katherine is well known for being the wife who survived Henry VII. She spoke several languages and was the first woman to publish a book in English under her name. During her reign as Queen of England, Katherine translated religious texts into English. You can enjoy Catherine's work under "Complete Works and Correspondence," a book edited by Chicago Press.Katherine’s work contributed to the spreading and use of The Bible at the time.

Constance Garnett

Constance Garnett

Source: MotaWordWe owe this woman the gift of reading Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekov in English. She was the first translator of Russian literature into English and made available these works in English for American and British audiences. She translated 70 titles from English into Russian, contributing to the popularization of Russian literature. Nowadays, she still stands as one of the best translators of these works.

Sarah Austin

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Sarah Austin

Source: Wikipedia[/caption]Sarah translated many German authors into English and helped English Speakers to understand the Germany of her time. Her most famous work is titled "Characteristics of Goethe from the German of Falk, Von Müller, and Others" and can be read today under several publishers.Her work is a must-read if you want to understand classical German literature.

Constance Bache

Hänsel and Gretel a Fairy Opera In three Acts by Adelheid Wette Translated by Constance Bache. Source: LubranomusicConstance was a German into English translator who made available many musical works from Chopin, Mozart and Franz Liszt. She also translated fragments of Gothe's Faust; and Hansel and Gretel.She was also a notorious writer and musician; her works made German music accessible to English musicians and helped to popularize the works of many great authors. She was also a writer and a musician herself.

Anne Dacier

Anne Dacier

Source: Peter HarringtonAnne worked translating from Ancient Greek into French. She translated Aristophanes, Anacreon and Plautus. Her work contributed to the popularization of these authors outside scholar circles, making them more accessible to the French public. Gilles Ménage dedicated his book about female philosophers to her. She was considered an anomaly in her time, translation wasn’t seen as a field for women but she gained the admiration of her peers and was quite renowned for it.

Catharina Ahlgren

Source: WikipediaAmong her many roles, Catharina translated poetry and novels from several languages into Swedish. Her work was enjoyed in the 1700 and can be found today in many publishing houses. Besides her role as a translator, she was also a writer and editor and is considered one of the first identifiable female journalists and a proto-feminist.Catharina had a prolific career in journalism and writing, and is remembered as an important figure in Sweden.

Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn

Source: Layers Of LondonAphra played an important part during the Restoration Era, being one of the first women to make a living writing at the time. Among her translation work, we can find “Reflections on Morality, or, Seneca Unmasqued”, an analysis of Seneca that was originally written in French.She was a French into English translator and also wrote prose and poetry, and her works can be found today in many countries, under several publishing houses.With her, we conclude our recount of some of the most remarkable women in translation’s history, we still have many women to cover and we trust in the role women have in the industry, there will be even more women in this list with every passing year.

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