Say you need to translate some material from one language to another or have to do so as part of your job. You may have encountered translation techniques and methods before, but if you’re not already familiar with them, it can be not easy to know where to begin.
Fortunately, this list provides an overview of the most commonly used translation techniques and methods, as well as descriptions of each one and its best uses. By the end of this list, you should have a good idea of which ones are right for your own needs.
Introduction To Translation Techniques & Methods
Translating is not everyone’s cup of tea. It involves getting creative with your words to make sure that as many people understand them as possible in as many places as possible. It also involves paying attention to all different types of translation techniques. In order to better understand some methods of translation, we must first understand what translation actually is.
A relatively simple definition of translation is the transference or rendering of meaning from one language into another. So put, it’s finding ways to convey a message in one language (source) so that it is clear and understandable in another language (target).
Methods of translation
There are four common methods of translation in practice. Each translation method has its pros and cons as well as specific applications. Let’s discuss the four methods of translation in detail:
- Free Translation: When translating from a language to your mother tongue, it is called free translation.
- Idiomatic Translation: It requires a high skill level because idiomatic expressions are hard to translate word-for-word without making mistakes.
- Faithful Translation: This is an appropriate translation method for long text passages or written work to translated directly. The translator needs to keep word-for-word close to original text.
- Semantic Translation: An automated translation approach that translates words or phrases rather than whole sentences. We can use semantic techniques to translate documents of a technical nature.
Legal service translation understands that good translators always use literal translations when working on a text, but unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. Literal translations are quite infrequent in real life. In most cases, a translator will have to decide between various translation techniques: how should they translate figurative language? What about slang? How about cultural references or puns? A translator will rarely find a one-size-fits-all solution in these situations.
Direct Translation Techniques
Direct methods of translation are also known as literal translation techniques. One word in a source language is translated into one word in a target language in a direct translation. The following are examples of direct translations.
- Literal Translation: This is a direct translation from one language to another. While it is possible to translate from English into Spanish or French in a literal manner, such translations will not convey their meaning precisely. To accurately convey meaning, you must use common idioms.
- Borrowing: A direct translation of a word or phrase from one language to another without changing its form is called borrowing.
- Re-rendering: A re-rendering is a translation where the literal meaning is preserved in another language, but different words are used.
Indirect Translation Techniques
We use this form of translation when it isn’t possible to translate every element of a source text. It also involves translating only parts of a text because some elements don’t need to be translated at all (for example, proper names or titles already translated by their publishers).
This is useful if you know your target audience won’t understand specific cultural or historical references in your source material. To help ensure that your readers understand exactly what they are reading, you should use techniques like making sure names are easily pronounceable and similar to their translations. Below are the types of indirect translation techniques:
- Transposition: When a source text is intended for an audience unfamiliar with a given language, you can use transposition. This involves using elements of a source text so that it makes sense to readers, who aren’t familiar with those particular words or phrases. In some cases, you might even alter words for greater clarity.
- Modulation: In some cases, it is easier to approach translation from a different direction by altering particular words or phrases in your source text. For example, many languages share similar word orders, so you can take a line of poetry and alter its structure to make it more suitable for your audience.
- Adaptation: There are times when you have to change a source text if it is too specific to its audience. For example, if you’re translating for an American audience, a British-oriented ad that mentions downtowners (Americans won’t understand what that means) would need to be changed for clarity. The same can be true of references to particular holidays or events.
In conclusion, with so many different translation techniques available, it is not a surprise that translators have yet to arrive at a definitive answer on which one is better than another. Even though there may be some differences in opinion between experts of legal service translation regarding specific methods, translators still need to learn as many of them as possible to be well-versed in both theory and practice.
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