Some Translation Techniques You Should Know

translation techniques

The translation process consists of understanding the meaning of a text written in a language of origin and transferring it to a target language while retaining the same meaning.

Before carrying out this translation process correctly, it is convenient to know the different translation techniques available. Depending on the chosen type, the translator must adjust to different parameters to correctly translate the author's original message without ever losing its meaning in the original language.

Most relevant translation techniques

Next, we will review the best-known translation techniques.

The literal translation method

The literal translation or word for word is applicable between two languages when there is a previous correspondence of structure and significance and there is an exact equivalence between the different words. Actually, this type of translation is rarely used.

The semantic loan method

The semantic loan as a translation technique consists of using a word or an expression of the original text exactly the same in the target text. Normally the loans appear in italics in the translations. The idea is to reproduce as it is an expression of the original text in the destination text.

In short, it is a matter of leaving some expression or name that belongs to the cultural heritage of the language of origin untranslated. On many occasions, the terms that designate national institutions that do not have an exact equivalent in the other culture are left in italics in the original language.

The tracing method

The tracing consists in literally translating the elements that make up a Syntagma to avoid falling into foreign words or semantic loans. In short, it is a kind of loan in which the Syntagm of the source language is borrowed, but the elements that compose it are literally translated. An example: «weekend»/«weekend».

The transposition method

This process of transposition consists in changing a grammatical category a part of the sentence without altering its general meaning. Therefore, this technique involves a change in the grammatical structure of the phrase. It is a process that is often applied unconsciously.

The modulation method

Modulation is understood as the translation process that takes place when there is a change in the conceptual basis of a term, in the point of view, in the perspective, but without altering its meaning. It is, therefore, a more abstract plane that consists of adopting a modified point of view or a different metaphorical base.

The equivalence method

When we speak of equivalence when translating, we refer to trying to reproduce the same situation through completely different stylistic and structural resources.

An example of equivalence would be "No parking at all times": "Do not park". Equivalence is very common when translating sayings or sayings proper to a culture. Thus, for example, the British "it's raining cats and dogs" is usually translated by our "it rains cats and dogs".

The adaptation method

This translation technique, also known as the cultural substitution or cultural equivalent, consists of translating cultural elements of the language of origin by others that adapt to the culture of the target language.

The lexical synonymy method

When we speak of lexical synonymy as a translation technique, we refer to when the translator opts for a translation solution in the target language that does not exactly match but approaches the one used in the source language. It is important to remember that we can’t get too far away from the meaning of the original word. Remember that bilingual dictionaries sometimes give words that are not interchangeable in all contexts.

The restructuring method

When a translator uses the restructuring technique he is choosing to change the type of sentence or even the number of sentences to correctly convey the author's message.

Is a translation method the same as a translation technique?

No, it's not the same. In the field of translation, the method and technique are different concepts. Thus, a translation method is applied to the entire text to be translated and the translation techniques may vary within the same text, depending on the case and depending on the verbal elements that have to be translated.

What are the most commonly used translation methods?

In this section, we will talk about a few professional translation services method which could be more useful to understand and make you sense properly.

Interpretive-communicative method: The use of this translation method aims to preserve the same purpose as the original text. It is intended that the translation have the same effect on the reader as the original text.

Literal method: The linguistic system of the source text is reproduced as such, but literally reconverting the linguistic elements that compose it word-for-word translation, Syntagma by phrase or sentence by sentence to the morphology and syntax of the original text.

Free method: The translator moves away from the formal structure of the source text to transmit freely the message of the author of the original text.

Philological method: It is a critical and erudite translation for literary or documentary purposes.

We hope you found this post about translation techniques useful. If you want to know more about the types of translation and interpretation that exist, do not forget to consult the articles of this blog.

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