To continue our journey into the world of legal translation services, I decided to have a closer look into words. There is a series of Ted talks that go deep into the meaning and history of some words. Believe it or not, some of them meant something completely different in the past and has changed in time. One such word is “venom”.
This is important when it comes to legal document translation because the translator needs to know the words and their meaning within a certain context to make sure that the translation is accurate. So let’s get back to our special word. Venom actually meant ‘something to be desired’, which is weird considering our understanding of venom now. This word started from an indo-european root called ‘wen’, which meant ‘to desire’ or ‘to strive for’.
After several decades and association with Roman mythology, the word became ‘wenes’ which was applied to the goddess of love, Venus. From that context of love, the word ‘wenesom’ emerged which meant ‘love potion’. In time this changed to ‘wenenum’ which was a word that described medicine or potions. These were potions made by doctors that caused intense physical reactions. With a little bit of shortening and some modifications, the word ‘venom’ emerged which we use today to describe the poison from snakes and scorpions.
This is why you need quality legal translation to make sure that the words will mean what they originally meant in the document. If you pick a wrong translator, who knows what your document will read after translation.
You can view the TED video here.