DIFFERENT FORMS OF
HOW TRANSLATION VARIES ACROSS
FIELDS AND GENRES
THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS?
• If it’s news to you that there are different kinds of
translation, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
• All kinds of translation are similar because they
perform the same function.
• Levels of scrutiny, interpretation and correctness
vary according to a translation’s associated field.
• Technical writing, and by
extension its translation,
requires a vast background
knowledge to give the
intended message to readers.
• Technical translation requires
a vast level of background
knowledge, like patent
• Translators have to stay close
to the original meaning of the
document, but they may
have to reword to get that
meaning across in the
language that they are
Example of technical translation:
A set of instructions for how to build a LEGO building
should be difficult to misinterpret. Some technical
language will be used to describe the process of
building the LEGO masterpiece, and the translation
of it will need to be equally technical. The translation
may not be literal, but it will convey equally well
which piece goes where.
• International patent
translation requires an
technical expertise and
• Mistranslation of a
patent can cause
problems in legal
protection of the
• Terminology is key to
having a correct
Example of patent translation:
If a software company is looking to receive a patent
for a very specific function of the software they use
(i.e. GPS tracking), then they have to make sure that
the interpretation of GPS will working in other
languages. Character-based languages will have
more of a difficulty with translating an acronym.
• Localization often goes hand-in-hand with
technical translation, but is more specialized than
• Localization is the step beyond initial translation,
making the material understandable to different
dialects and cultures.
• Terminology can be different among different
speakers of the same language.
• This process depends a little more on physical
“Grey” is the typical
British spelling, while
“gray” is the typical
An example of localization:
British English, American
English, and Australian
English are all different
dialects of the same
language and would
require slightly different
translations in order for
them to work the best in
• When a machine
translates you lose
• The translation becomes
• The machine can’t
match current lingual
trends, only past ones
• Machines can’t adapt
to fluidity of language
• Lower priority items that
don’t require the BEST
interpretation can be
• Fiction requires that the
translator first interpret what’s
happening in the work.
• It may not be as obvious
what the meaning is. The
words can be interpreted
literally, but then the meaning
• There must be a balance
between the author’s intent
and staying close to the
• Poetry is even more difficult to translate than fiction,
thanks to its reliance on language.
• Poetry uses devices like rhyme, meter, and rhythm
to support its meaning.
• Taking away the original language may completely
change the poem.
• Translating into another language can reveal
different layers of meaning in the poem.
• All translation involves making interpretations of the
language that is there and making it
understandable in another language.
• Read this article for more information about the
different kinds of translation.
• To know more about international patent
translation, read this article.