Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Dragomans (Tercuman; Translators)
(1,376 words)

The influx of European Jews into the Ottoman Empire following the expulsion from Spain provided the state with a valuable source of loyal citizens who spoke useful foreign languages and had personal or commercial ties to both Christian courts and Jewish communities in their countries of origin. Many Jews exploited their talents to achieve important positions in the Ottoman court, particularly in its international relations, often starting their careers as dragomans (translators/interpreters, from Trk. tercuman, itself borrowed from Ar. root t-r-j-m,to translate). Aware of …

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D Gershon Lewental, “Dragomans (Tercuman; Translators)”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0006760>
First published online: 2010

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