The Dragomans were extremely important members of society throughout the time of the Ottoman Empire and after that in Turkey. They are recognised as the “founding fathers” of current translation and interpretation by certain people.
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The Role Of Ottoman Empire Dragomans
In order to establish diplomatic contact with other countries during the Ottoman Empire era, every state had to hire linguists. These translators and language interpreters were known as dragomans in the past.
Their influence on the Empire, and later on the landscape of Turkey, was so profound that their history can be linked to the Ottoman Empire’s connections with Western countries. The history of dragomans in countries with Islam as the predominant religion can be traced back at least to the 8th Century.
These documents date back to the Abbasid era. Dragomans were used in Egypt during the Mamluks and Anatolia’s Seljuks. The latter was referred to as a fireman’ by a dragoman.
Their history is intricately intertwined with the interpreters of diplomatic documents inside the Abbasid Caliphate. Their first contacts were made with Western rulers, and they signed treaties. If you want to translate this language, please come to us. We are Uscis Approved Translation Services.
Meaning Of The Word’ Dragoman’
There are a lot of different ideas floating around about where the name “dragoman” came from and what it means.”
Targem is the oldest form of the word “dragoman”, which has been translated into Latin (dragomans), Italian, Drogmano), German(dragoman), Bulgarian (dragoman), Portuguese [turgeman], Serbian (terduman], Polish (Kurtzman), Byzantine Greek (“dragomans”) and Flemish (“dragoman”) languages.
This word was also used in Turkish languages and was called Dilma. Although “tercuman” was the official term used by Ottoman documents to describe dragomans, not what they used, it is common to hear them use the phrase dragoman in almost all European languages.
The Role Of A Dragoman
When official business was being discussed, diplomats in the Ottoman Empire required linguists who could speak both Oriental and Western languages. They needed people who could understand the cultural differences and codes of ethics of the Ottomans and those from the West.
A dragoman was responsible for a wide variety of tasks. They were in charge of translating and interpreting business and political negotiations that took place between the Sultan Porte of Western nations and the consuls.
Existence of 2 categories during Empire:
The Sultan’s Imperial Divan Dragomans
Because of the nature of their profession, the dragomans who guarded the Sultan’s Imperial Divan were considered government employees. They were called Grand Drogmans in Western United States. These linguists were often considered very dangerous and held high-ranking positions.
These dragomans were the second-highest-ranking positions after the Reisul Qutab. Modern terms refer to these linguists as the translators and interpreters supervising a team. They had the same responsibilities today as translators for presidents and ministries.
A Grand Dragoman was responsible for many tasks, including translating letters from foreign missions to Sultan and translating Grand Vizier’s meetings. They were also involved in Ottoman delegations that were sent overseas, and they interpreted during bilateral negotiations.
His appointment came in the year 1502. In the 18th century, dragomans were permitted to take part in negotiations. The Grand Dragomans were responsible for all diplomatic activities of the Ottoman Empire. They were, therefore, the most important civil servants in the Empire.
Foreign Mission Dragomans
A mission of a Western country in the Ottoman Empire required that the personnel speak both the Ottoman Turkish and Western languages. In the beginning, dragomans were recruited in Pera and from minority Christian communities.
However, throughout the course of time, Western nations began educating their dragomans to function as secretary-interpreters, which meant that they were responsible for translating documents and meetings with representatives from the Ottoman administration.
The demand for dragomans grew as the Ottoman Empire, and Western power relations improved and became more complex. Countries had to look for other solutions. Venice sent its children to Constantinople in 1551 to train as dragomans.
Poland, France, and the Republic of Ragusa followed their lead. In 1626, a school in Constantinople that taught French, Turkish and Vulgar Greek and Italian was established. This school was where the first group of dragomans to serve France were trained.
In the year 1669, Constantinople became home to the city’s first known school for dragomans. It was a school for young language learners and went by the name “Jeunes de langue. The Marseille Chamber of Commerce funded the school, and tuition was free.
Young children from the Ottoman Empire and Western countries also received an education, which included lessons in Persian, Turkish, and Arabic. After their training was completed, they were called language children (dil Gilani).