Mardians spoke a Persian dialect and they were the ones who had stolen Alexander’shorse, Bukephalas, during his invasion in their lands. Alexander angered by thisincident, had an interpreter(Curtius 6.5.19;
17.76)that if the Mardians didnot restore the charger, not one of them would remain alive.
Ancient sources mention Alexander’s use of interpreters in Sogdiana, since Sogdianscould not understand the Greek language. When 30 Sogdians nobles were captured byMacedonians and led before the king, they were informed in their own language(Curt. 7.10.ff)that they were condemned to death.In the aftermath of the news that Spitamenes was besieging the Macedonians inMaracanda, in Sogdiana, we are informed that Alexander used Pharnuches, aLycian, as an interpreter.(
Mossynoecians could not communicate in Greek either. (Anab. 5.4.5)
and Xenophon spoke as follows,
Timesitheus acting as interpreter:
“Mossynoecians,we desire to make our way to Greece in safety by land, for we have no ships;
Indians could not communicate in Greek as it is confirmed by ancient sources.A revealing incident is recorded(Curt. 8.12.9)between the Indian Hephaestion andAlexander. The Indian wished to surrender his forces but Alexander thought he cameas an enemy and ordered his troops to be ready for battle. An interpreter between theIndian Ruler and Alexander was needed to setle thingsout.Interpreters were used in Alexander’s dealings with the Hindu Philosophers. At thesight of Alexander and his Greek army, they stamp their feet on the earth. They wereasked through an interpreter(Arrian Anab. 7.1)what their actions meant.Interpreters are recorded also byStrabo (15.1.64)to translate the speeches of thosespeaking among the wise men of India.Nearchus Macedonian soldiers, after a tiring expedition and hard labours, burst intotears at the sight of a man dressed in Greek clothes and speaking Greek like them(Arrian Indica, 33), in a place where the Greek language was unknown.
In Armenia we get more examples of the Greek language being unintelligible to thenatives. A conversation between the Greek Cheirisophos and the native Armeniangirls who were drawing water outside the city walls, could not take place in Greek asthe Armenians could not understand Greek, but in Persian only through an interpreter.