Types of translation
Everything Translation

Types of Translation

Everything Translation

Globalization is a concept that is rapidly transforming the translation industry. Instead of general translation classifications such as human and machine translation, specializations are emerging, leading to further translation sub-categorization. This article describes the main types of translations while highlighting the basics of some recently coined translation expressions.

Main Types of Translation

Generalized Translations

Essentially, general translation tasks do not require expert knowledge, as they never contain specialized terminologies. Daily news, mobile apps, and website contents available in multiple languages form part of general translation. 

Specialized Translations

As the name suggests, these translations require background knowledge of particular concepts and terms common to a special field. For instance, besides translation skills, a legal translator should possess an expert understanding of contracts, treaties, and other legal documents to translate the content accurately. 

Legal translations involve translating legal documents, including treaties and contracts, and usually require a background understanding of the politico-legal or socio-cultural context of the item. Only a human translation agency with a firm grasp of the source and target group’s culture can pull off a satisfactory legal translation job. Sometimes, legal translators use professional assistance tools to minimize workload. Legal translations are among the most complex translation tasks.

  • Commercial Translation

A commercial or business translation job requires a translator to have specialist translation skills and business jargon knowledge to translate a business’s every report, tender document, company account, and correspondence. There’s a bit of overlap between commercial and legal translation, as most companies usually handle legal paperwork alongside business paperwork.

Despite the broad meaning of administrative, the translation industry uses it to describe managerial texts used in different corporations, businesses, and organizations. This type of translation also applies to commercial translation, taking into account the majority of administrative translation ought to be considered as commercial translation as well, but not all commercial translation is administrative.

Literary translation refers to translation done for literature such as poems, plays, short stories, and novels. It goes way beyond surface-level translation of content; a literary translator must be well versed in translating humor, feelings, emotions, cultural nuances, among other subtle elements relating to the specific work. Some tend to feel literal translation is somewhat impossible, more so in particular cases such as poetry translation.

A specialty that focuses on translating technical documents authored by experts in scientific fields such as computing, engineering, and medicine. Due to the complexity of these translations, most technical translators are usually fluent in multiple languages and possess an in-depth understanding of their fields. 

It involves translating content found on a website into a new language the target audience can understand. For instance, English web content can be translated into German. When done using a machine, the result is usually unnatural and artificial. 

Multimedia content refers to animations, graphics, infographics, and GIFs. Translating these files to target local languages requires the translators to customize the content to suit the culture and optimally engage the local audience without losing meaning. 

Financial translation involves converting financial records such as account statements and audit reports into languages familiar to the target audience while maintaining accuracy. 

Translating medical documents, such as clinical trial reports, research papers, and treatment guidelines, involve using jargon that makes them as complex as legal translation tasks. Generally, medical translation is a highly specialized niche. 

  • Economic Translations

Economic translations revolve around economic-oriented documents like business plans and presentations, profit and losses reports, and accountancy reports.

  • Simultaneous translations

In simultaneous translation, one speaker gives a speech, and an interpreter converts and conveys the same message to the target in a language different from the source language.

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Liraz Postan

Liraz is an International SEO and Content Expert with over 13 years of experience.

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