A Dragoman or Drogman (Arabic ترجمان tarǧumān, turdschuman ) is a translator, interpreter or language expert guide in the Middle East, especially for the languages ​​Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

The word goes back to the Semitic root rgm, which appears already in Akkadian (as targumannu ) and in Aramaic (as targemana ). All these words mean translator. Already in the 6th century BC, a special professional group has been set up in Egypt, which was particularly from living in the land of the Greeks who had to take care of the also mostly Greek tourists.

During the Middle Ages this interpreter assisted mainly Christian pilgrims. This brought the word to Europe, where it appears in Middle English (as Dragman ) in Old French (as drugeman ), in Medieval Latin (as dragumannus ) and the average Greek (as dragoumanos ).

Under the Mamluk government 1270-1510 the dragomans from each Sultan had to be accredited and were responsible to him for the accommodation and the behavior of the Christian foreigners.

In French travel accounts of the 15th century it appears as " truceman ", in German as " trutzelmann " or " Drugman ". Towards the end of the 15th century, he took over from his residence in Cairo for the care and accommodation of all Christian "tourists" in Egypt.

After Europe, this word came originally from Egypt, where the Arabic letter Ǧ ( Dschim, Ǧīm; Anglicized j) is spoken as g and not, as those in the other Arab countries dsch.

In the 16th century, the term was extended to the whole Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, it was mainly Greeks, who took over this work and between European languages ​​on the one hand and the Arab, Turkish and Persian language dolmetschten other.

After the diplomatic recognition of the Ottoman Empire they were the ambassadors, who resided in Istanbul, and the consuls, who were based in Alexandria and Cairo, the diplomatic and consular work that they had done previously, from.

In the 19th century, used the term to refer to an interpreter specifically for the traffic between the state authorities and the embassies and consulates in the East.


  • Istanbul et les langues orientales, Varia Turcica, Edite par Frédéric Hitzel, Editions l' Harmattan, 1997.
  • Marie de Testa & Antoine Gautier, Drogmans et diplomates européens auprès de la Porte ottoman, éditions ISIS, Istanbul, 2003.
  • Dragoman
  • Translation
  • Interpret
  • Culture ( Egypt)