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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

25. Verhandlungssprachen und Übersetzungen

From the book Handbuch Frieden im Europa der Frühen Neuzeit / Handbook of Peace in Early Modern Europe

  • Guido Braun


Languages of Negotiation and Translation The language of early modern peace negotiations was part of the contemporary language of diplomacy and the court. Negotiations, congresses and treaties were characterized by a multilingual culture. Many envoys were polyglot and were assisted by translators and interpreters. If Latin dominated European diplomatic culture until the second half of the seventeenth century and then French became the common language among European elites, other languages (Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, etc.) were also used in peace negotiations and treaties, and Latin only fully disappeared at the end of the Ancien Régime. Nevertheless, the choice of language was not arbitrary but regulated by agreement or usage. The selection process established a classification system of European princes, demonstrating equality or hierarchy. This multilingualism led to numerous problems of translation, especially in intercultural contacts with extra-European civilizations, although translation could also bridge these divides.

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