Types of Translation

January 16, 2021
6 minute read
Product Marketing

If you are someone who manages company contracts or legal documents, it is important to know about the different types of translation. From legal to technical to contract translation, there are several kinds that suit specific needs.

In a globalized world, the right translation is of vital importance. As companies rooted in different cultures interact with each other, even a minor misstep or misunderstanding due to poor translation can lead to massive problems for everyone concerned. Before we analyze the different types of translation, it is important to define translation.

What is translation?

Translation is the rendering of a text’s meaning into a different language. In translation, written text is interpreted in another language while retaining its original and intended meaning. The language from which it is translated is referred to as the source text while the one to which it is translated is known as the target language.

It should be noted that, despite popular misconception, translation and interpretation are not the same. Translation is for written text while interpretation is for the spoken word.

Types of Translation by Use Cases

Translation services differ by subject and industry. They also differ according to the nature of the medium, like digital translation. Below are the five most common types of translation.

5 common types of translation

Type 1: Legal translation  

One of the most challenging types of translation is legal translation. Whenever two organizations or individuals from different native languages enter into a legal contract, it becomes necessary to approach experienced teams for legal translation. The translators would need category-specific knowledge, whether it is treaties or memorandums, or company contracts.

They should also be well versed with the legal and statutory framework under which the document is being prepared. A good legal translation team will also have legal experts to check the document for accuracy and adherence to the original document.  

Type 2: Commercial translation

It is not just legal documents that have to be translated when two companies from different cultures get into business together. There will be several business documents that will need a translation. Commercial translation takes care of those.

It covers documents that are technical, financial, or administrative in nature. Most day-to-day correspondence between companies, proposals, and reports fall under this category.

Types 3: Marketing translation

Companies usually conceive their marketing campaigns in any one language. Since most brands are globally marketed, this leads to the requirement for marketing translation to render the marketing communication in local languages.

Newspaper ads, billboards, promotional materials, leaflets, and brochures are the usual documents that would need marketing translation. Since the primary aim is to persuade people, the translating team would require the efforts of translators who are also efficient at creating advertising copy.

Type 4:  Software translation

A company or a brand needs its digital assets in a language that its local population would understand. There cannot be a universal language for websites. Software translation delivers a website’s content, primarily its user interface, in the local language. Global brands will have their website content available in several languages, all translated without losing the brand character.

Type 5: Literary translation

The translation most people are familiar with would be literary translation. If you have ever read Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Haruki Murakami in English, you should thank the literary translators behind it. It involves the translation of poems, novels, biographies, stories, and plays. Literary translation is not a mere rendering of words.

It is done with a deep understanding of the original text, and superior knowledge of the target language with its idioms, nuances, and the emotional resonance of words and phrases. Some literary translators, including Gregory Rabassa, Constance Garnett, and Alfred Birnbaum are celebrated worldwide for their expertise.  

Types of Translation by Service

Type 1: Human Translation

As the name suggests, it is a human being translating the work from an original to a target language. Despite all the advancements in technology, it is still the most sought-after form of translation. Nothing can replace the nuanced understanding and cultural insights that a human being can provide.

Type 2: Machine Translation

If a search engine or a social media platform translates your text, that is an example of machine translation. It can be done in seconds but without accuracy or an understanding of linguistic differences and local idioms. This is mostly a basic or a free service without expectations on quality.

Type 3: Post-edited Machine Translation

This combines machine translation’s speed with human translation’s incisive expertise. In post-edited machine translation, human translators review the work produced by machines. But it should be understood that human translators will mostly be looking for grammatical errors and not linguistic flow or accuracy of syntax.

The Process Of Translation: How Professionals Do It

While different translation services use different processes, we have developed a five-step plan with the utmost attention to detail.

Step 1:

The process of translation begins with a detailed analysis of the source text. This will reveal its genre and the required expertise of the translator. It will also help the translating team to prepare supporting documents, including, a glossary, or reference documents. Inmost cases, the translator will follow a style guide to stay close to the original text’s tone.

Step 2:

In the second step, the translating team will select the translator with the right linguistic skills for the text. Usually, native speakers of the target language are chosen for the task. The translator is also expected to have domain-knowledge and experience, and detailed knowledge of the semantic nuances.

Step 3:

The third step is translating from the source to the target language. It is done with a keen awareness of the correct syntax, and linguistic conventions of both languages. Once it is completed, it is time for proofreading. Experienced translating teams use a different target-language expert to proofread the translated text to find cohesion, logical flow, and to spot any grammatical or linguistic errors.

Step 4:

They also scrutinize the text for any omissions from the source material. For example, in contract translation and legal translation, it is important to ensure that no legal terms or phrases are omitted or wrongly rendered. To translate contracts, we share the text with a legal expert to spot any errors.

Step 5:

The fifth and final step is are vision of the text to accommodate any corrections. There will be a final round of proofreading at this stage to ensure that there are no omissions or mistakes. Only after this stage is the translated text shared with the client. If the client provides feedback or changes, the team will accommodate the musing the same process.

Why Use ContractsGlobal

Our team of translation experts has been providing legal translation and contract translation services for several companies across the globe. If you are a technology company that needs to translate contracts or legal documents, here are four reasons why you should consider us.

  • Experience: Our legal translation team has translated legal documents and contracts from multiple clients around the world. Our team of experts is experienced in rendering even the most challenging contracts in a cohesive, logical, and meaningful manner.
  • Pre-vetted translators: We don’t work with unproven talent. All our translators are verified and come with years of experience in the legal and contract domain.
  • Native-language experts: We exclusively work with native-language experts for authenticity, knowledge of local syntax, and linguistic cohesion.
  • Specialization in technology companies: Most of our clients are in technology. This means what we are used to translating everything from ‘Terms of Service’ to complicated legal contracts that have been written for technology companies.
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