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Translation Process, Strategies and Methods
Translation is the process to transfer written or spoken source
language (SL) texts to equivalent written or spoken target
language (TL) texts. The basic purpose of translation is to
reproduce various types of texts, comprising literary, religious,
scientific, philosophical texts etc. in another language and thus
making them available to wider readers, to a greater number of
target audience and to bring the world closer.
However translation is not an easy job. If language is just a
classification for a set of general or universal concepts, it will be
of course very easy to translate from a source language to a target
language. But translation covers not only word for word translation
but also many other factors. The concepts of one language may
differ radically from those of another. This is because each
language articulates or organizes the word differently. The bigger
the gap between the SL and the TL, the more difficult the process
of transfer will be. The difference between the two languages and
the difference in cultures makes the process of translating a real
challenge. The problematic factors include translation like form,
style, meaning, proverbs, idioms, etc.
Some Questions that are asked in Translation are:
• Can a translator leave out certain sections of text ?
• Must the translator give more importance to meaning or
• Should the translator be visible or invisible?
• Should the translator be faithful or unfaithful?
• The translated document should domesticate or
• Is equivalence possible?
These are some theoretical debates that have always been
considered in Translation Studies.
Translation Processes, Strategies and Methods
The translating procedures can be divided into two groups:
• Technical procedure: This implies an analysis of the
source and target languages and a complete study of the
SL text before translating it.
• Organizational procedure: This implies a constant re-
evaluation of the translation made. It also includes the
comparison of the existing translation with the
translations of the same text by other translators. The
organizational procedure also checks the translated text's
communicative effectiveness by getting the opinion of the
TL audience to evaluate its accuracy and effectiveness
and studying their reactions.
Methods of Translation
Some of the common methods of translation are as follows:
• Word-for-word translation: Here the source language
word is translated into another language by their most
common meanings, which can also be out of context at
times, especially in idioms and proverbs.
• Literal Translation: Here the source language
grammatical constructions are translated to their nearest
target language. However the lexical words are translated
singly, out of context.
• Faithful Translation: Here the translation interprets the
exact contextual meaning of the original within the
constraints of the grammatical structures of the target
• Semantic Translation: Semantic translation refers to that
type of translation which takes into account the aesthetic
value of the source language text.
• Adaptation: Adaptation refers to that type of translation
which is used mainly for plays and poems. The text is
rewritten considering the source language culture which
is converted to the target language culture where the
characters, themes, plots are usually preserved.
• Free Translation: This method of translation produces the
translated text without the style, form, or content of the
• Idiomatic Translation: It translates the message of the
original text but tends to distort the original meaning at
times by preferring colloquialisms and idioms.
• Communicative Translation: This method displays the
exact contextual meaning of the original text in a manner
where both content and language are easily acceptable
and comprehensible to the readers.
The translation processes implies an entire process of how a
translator produces equivalences between a text or portions of a
text into another language. The translation process can be
• Decoding the meaning of the source text, and
• Re-encoding or translating this meaning in the target
Behind this simple process lies various activities like checking
grammar, syntax, idioms, semantics, and the like of the source
language and also the culture of its speakers. The translator needs
indepth knowledge in decoding and then re-encoding the
meaning in the target language. In many cases, it is necessary
that the translator's knowledge of the target language is more
important than his knowledge of the source language.
The following is the process that is usually followed by all to
ensure a well written, accurate translation:
• The document that is to be translated is assigned to a
person who is well versed with the native language is that
which the document is being translated into.
• The document is edited by a person who is fluent in both
the target and source languages. Accuracy, grammar,
spelling and writing style are all checked in the editing
• The document is proofread by a person who is fluent in
both languages. It is also necessary to check spelling and
• Finally, before the document goes to the client , the
document is further rechecked to ensure that the
translation is correct, there is no missing texts and the
layout is perfect.