The story

Columbus 7′s story goes back to 2001, the year it was founded. The story that provided Columbus 7 its name however, goes back more than 500 years…

In 1494 Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Cadiz in Spain with three ships and about 150 men to find a westerly route to the fabled riches of the East. Much has been written about his voyage. How this adventurer from Genoa was sponsored by Queen Isabella of Spain, how this journey of adventure took place precisely at the time that Spain was closing itself to the world by expelling foreigners, and how Columbus only discovered land (in fact, land birds) as twilight was gathering on the last day of a three day deadline that his mutinous crews had given him before he would be forced to admit failure and turn back.

Deadlines are very much part of a translator’s craft. But less known is that Columbus recruited no less that seven translators. They were specialised in Eastern languages: Arabic, Hebrew and (we believe) Malayalam, the language of Kerala, the spice-rich southern tip of India where vanilla, cardamom and pepper were and still are grown. Things were not easy on the translators: four died on the journey or shortly after landing, and the languages were useless in the West Indies. Unlike the sailors, the three remaining translators (we do not know their names) stayed on the islands, and learned the languages. They assisted Columbus considerably in his subsequent trading voyages (he made three) to the islands.