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Different Types of Translation: What’s Best For Your Business Needs?

Discover the different methods and types of translation beyond straightforward industry-standard translation and how they all can serve your business goals.

Veronica Pastuch's avatar
Veronica Pastuch

April 18, 2022

6 MIN READ

Translating content is the best, most authentic way to connect with international customers. It allows people to learn about your business and feel like they’re an essential audience your company would like to reach. Some may not know this, but there are different types of translation, all suited for different business needs. 

4 Different Methods of Translation

Translated content is important for globalizing your business. To successfully reach your target audience, there are various methods of translation. Here are four that satisfy content translation within varying business needs:

1. Industry-Standard, Basic Translation

The basic translation process involves converting content from the source language into the target language while respecting grammar rules and syntax. It’s a complex process that considers each language’s standards and guidelines. Translation is used to rewrite website content, user manuals, medical documents, technical publications, scientific journals, etc. Translators must produce accurate work to ensure the message in the target language keeps the original meaning. Within the umbrella of basic translation, there are sub-methods of translation such as neural machine translation, computer-aided translation, and ai translation which can all impact efficiency.

2. Localization

Localization is a translation method that complements and contrasts with basic translation. Localization and translation have some key differences that are important to address. Localization is more than simply rewriting the text into different languages. It involves a cultural approach to adapt messaging, including cultural, transactional, and design elements that speak to specific audiences. For example, localization is why you’ll need different content for Argentina, Mexico, and Spain, even though Spanish is the official language of these three countries. Most languages have local versions and dialects that need consideration when building a global website, marketing strategy, or anything that focuses on customer outreach, which is what localization provides that translation alone cannot.

3. Transliteration

Transliteration allows words in one language to be understood by those who speak another language. It’s the process of converting texts based on phonetic similarity. This process is concerned with the pronunciation of the text rather than explaining its meaning. Transliteration makes a language more accessible to people who are unfamiliar with that language’s alphabet and focuses more on pronunciation than meaning. Restaurant menus are common places where transliteration is used, and libraries where people perform searches for content in different writing systems. Words like karate (from Japanese) and pajamas (from Urdu) were borrowed for the English language and transliterated from their original text into the Latin alphabet.

4. Transcreation

Transcreation is a combination of the words “translation” and “creation.” Transcreation changes the text to make its meaning culturally appropriate for a target market. With transcreation, content is adapted from one language to another to ensure that a message’s intention, original style, and tone are preserved. This translation method is usually used in marketing and advertising to adapt creative messages or slogans to global audiences. Transcreation might also be used when a message’s creator and its intended recipient speak the same language. For example, Britons might not understand some American phrases and vice versa. Transcreation requires linguistic expertise, creativity, and a cultural understanding of the target market. This way you can make sure your content resonates with the target audience on an emotional level.

To learn more about these four methods of translation, take a look at our free resource that dives even further into translation, localization, transliteration and transcreation.

Other Types of Translation

There are other types of translation that differ from the four outlined above. These are nuanced, often industry-specific, translation techniques. However, they all fall under the umbrella of creating language that’s readable and understandable for everyone.

Literary Translation 

Literary translation involves translating books, articles, and other types of prose, poetry, and plays from ancient and modern authors. This assures people worldwide that they can enjoy literary creations in their own language. Literary translation differs from straight translation due to specific style and emphasis. Therefore, the translation process needs to take the specific style, tone, structure, etc. into consideration.

Technical Translation 

Technical translation involves translating specific documents produced by professionals with a high level of expertise in their fields. Technical translators handle texts about the practical application of technological information or scientific research and have to understand the topic and technical jargon well enough to communicate properly. Technical translation is necessary for multiple fields, from engineering to life science and healthcare. Materials requiring translation vary and include articles from technical, medical, engineering, and scientific journals. Other materials requiring technical translation include user guides and manuals, computer product specification sheets, patents, technical drawings, engineering documents, and more.

Website Translation 

Website translation takes website content in its original language and changes it, often word-for-word, into other languages. Translating your content is a great way to increase worldwide brand recognition. Talking to your customers in their own language increases trust and brand awareness and allows potential customers to access your business within an immersive web experience. It’s also an essential part of any multilingual SEO strategy. You gain SEO benefits from localized website content, which boosts your position on search engines and organic traffic. For a website, a straight translation project will only change the existing content on your site for accurate sentences in another language. Translated content mirrors the style and tone of source content but doesn’t consider the context. 

Professional Translation 

Professional translation is performed by people who have experience in a specific field. They are highly specialized translation types, as every industry has unique terminology and concepts. For example, legal translations need to adhere to the laws of the jurisdiction or country where the translation will be used. Medical translation refers to translating texts in healthcare, such as medicine, pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and clinical trials. This can include translation of consent forms, medical device manuals, hospital documents, and medical reports. Engineering translation has unique materials such as AutoCAD, blueprints and technical drawings, business proposals (RFPs and RFQs), equipment operating manuals, and safety manuals that require technical knowledge.

No Matter The Type of Translation, We Have You Covered

Your business’s translation needs are important to identify when you’d like to expand your global business horizons. Luckily, there are many translation methods to support what may be best for your business, whether it’s adapting content in a literal sense, culturally, phonetically, or within a specific niche. MotionPoint is a translation and localization company that offers translation services to reach a broad spectrum of translation needs. Let us help you authentically communicate your business to your customers, no matter where they’re located.

Last updated on April 18, 2022
Veronica Pastuch's avatar

About Veronica Pastuch

Throughout her 15-year career leading successful multicultural teams in the website localization industry, Veronica Pastuch has directly contributed to the translation, deployment and ongoing support of more than 1,500 multilingual websites, with an absolute commitment to superior quality and customer satisfaction.

Veronica Pastuch's avatar
Veronica Pastuch

EVP of Translation Operations

6 MIN READ

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