Ancient and contemporary
The languages known as the modern Romance languages derived from Latin origins. Some of the most widely spoken Romance languages in the world today are Spanish, Portuguese and French. Nowadays, the Romance languages have more than 800 million native speakers across the globe, demonstrating the value of ancient Latin in contributing to the modern world.
Today, areas such as taxonomy and certain religions still use Latin frequently. Latin is also used in the creation of new words for a range of derivative languages, such as English. Many students and scholars still study it, both as a means of understanding the origins of modern languages and in order to appreciate some of the world’s most famous literature in its original language.
The translation of documents from Latin to English is a highly skilled business, for which several factors need to be considered.
- As Latin is such an old language, a translator needs to be chosen for the time period in which the document was written, to be certain of a flawless translation. Ancient Latin and contemporary Latin have centuries of development between them.
- Ecclesiastical Latin, as used by the Catholic and Anglican churches, is steeped in the language’s history and adheres closely to the ancient form of the language found in documents dating back to the Roman Empire.
- Academic Latin also conforms to the conventions of the ancient language.
- There have been several attempts over the centuries since the use of Latin declined to revive it as a living language. Living Latin, Contemporary Latin and Spoken Latin are all terms used by proponents of this movement, which still exists today.