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The jeunes de langues in the eighteenth century

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This article explores the history in Europe of the training of interpreters specialized in diplomacy, which began in the Renaissance Venetian Republic, when this European power started to train the so-called giovani di lingua in its embassy in Constantinople. The Venetian model was imitated and developed by other European powers, especially by France and the Austrian monarchy, trying to strengthen their relations with the Ottoman Empire by training their own jeunes de langues and Sprachknaben, respectively. In Spain the equivalent figure, the joven de lenguas, emerged later, in the last third of the 18th century, and there is evidence of several proposals to create a Spanish school to train these youngsters. The profile of the selected jóvenes who would serve at the Spanish embassies and consulates in foreign regions is also analyzed. Finally, the Spanish example is compared with the pioneering European models, especially with the Venetian, the French and the Austrian ones.
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Keywords: Sprachknaben; diplomacy; history of interpreting; jóvenes de lenguas; training of interpreters

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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