The article summarizes history of translation. The activity of translators in recent years has become an indispensable condition for the development of international contacts, exchange of business and scientific and technical information. It is well known that since ancient times the profession of a translator was respectable and honorable. History shows that in ancient Carthage (the ninth century BC), inhabited by people who spoke different languages there was a special caste of «professional translators». They had a special legal status and enjoyed an exceptional advantage: they were exempt from any duties. The researchers, even externally, the members of the caste of interpreters differed from the others: they walked with shaven heads and wore tattoos. Those who translated from several languages had a tattoo – a parrot with outstretched wings. Those who were able to work only with one language had a parrot with folded wings. The main stages of translation development are defined. • The first stage – from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, which arose around 5000 years before the Phoenician alphabet – to the XV century BC. This period can be called «syncretic-communicative» when the translation was represented by purely verbal means of communication between people and nations. • The second phase – from the XV century BC, when it was one of the first recorded in history of phonetic writing, which went from the Greek alphabet, and then Cyrillic and Latin – to the emergence of Judaism and Christianity – the XIII ctntury BC. It can be called «syncretic-information». • The third phase – from the thirteenth century BC to the VII century BC, when religion was the basis of human life and the translation was a means of spreading religious traditions. It can be called «syncretic-orthodox». • The fourth stage, in our view, lasted from the VII century BC to the XI century AD in which took place not only the first scientific discovery and knowledge about the world, but also their application in life. Translations of this period were not only a means of spreading religious canons, and scientific and theoretical knowledge. It can be called «orthodox-sekulyaryzatsiynym».