What is Translation, and What are Some Examples?  

In today’s globally interconnected world, translation is a critical bridge across language barriers that fosters communication, understanding, and cooperation. But what exactly is translation, and how does it function in various contexts? This article delves into the definition of translation, showcases practical examples, and explores different types of translation and their significance.  


What is Translation?  

Translation can be broadly defined as the process of converting written text from one language into another. It involves not only the direct translation of words but also the adaptation of cultural nuances, idiomatic expressions, and contextual meaning to ensure that the translated content is as understandable and relevant in the target language as it is in the source language.  

Marketing translation is a quintessential example of how translation adjusts to fit different audiences’ cultural and contextual needs. This practice is vital in adapting marketing materials such as advertisements, brochures, and digital content to resonate with local audiences in their native language. For instance, the translation of advertisements examples show how brands rework their messages to appeal to different cultural norms and values without losing their core message.  

A Practical Example of Translation 

A practical example of translation can be seen in the global marketing strategies of multinational companies. When a company like Coca-Cola launches a new product, the product descriptions, advertising slogans, and promotional materials are translated from the original language—often English—into dozens of languages. This ensures the company’s message maintains its persuasive and emotional appeal across diverse markets.  


What are the 4 Types of Translation?  

Translation is often categorized into types based on the nature of the source material, the complexity of the translation, or the way content is translated from one language into another. Here are the four most common types of translation in relation to the source material’s subject matter: 

Creative Translation 

Creative translation involves translating literary works such as novels, poems and plays. The challenge here lies in capturing the author’s style, tone, and intent, often requiring creative solutions from the translator.  

Technical Translation  

Technical translation covers documents such as manuals, engineering texts, and safety guidelines. Accuracy and precision are paramount, as a minor error can lead to significant misunderstandings.  

 Corporate Translation 

Corporate translation involves translating legal documents such as contracts, affidavits, and statutes. It requires a deep understanding of legal terminology and the legal systems of both the source and target languages. It also involves the translation of administrative texts used in various corporate and government operations. 

Scientific Translation  

Scientific translation, like technical translation, often covers similar materials. However, scientific translation is often used to translate academic texts, scientific studies, and research findings. 


The Definition of Translation by Different Scholars 

Scholars have long debated the nuances of translation, offering various definitions that underscore its complexity. According to Roman Jakobson, translation involves three processes: intralingual, interlingual, and intersemiotic. Jakobson’s definition highlights the interpretative nature of translation, emphasizing that it goes beyond mere word-for-word substitution to include cultural and contextual adaptation.  

Intralingual, Interlingual, and Intersemiotic Translation Examples

 Jakobson's types of translation infographic

  • Intralingual translation is the rewording or paraphrasing of a text within the same language. For example, simplifying a complex legal document into plain language for general public understanding is an intralingual translation.  
  • Interlingual translation (or translation proper) is what most people think of when they hear the term “translation”—converting text from one language to another. A classic example is translating Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” from Spanish to English.  
  • Intersemiotic translation involves translating verbal signs into non-verbal signs, such as turning a book into a film. A famous example is the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series into movies.  


Importance of Translation in Literature  

Translation is indispensable in literature, allowing works to transcend their original language and reach a global audience. It enriches the receiving culture, provides new perspectives, and fosters greater understanding among diverse peoples.  

What is translation in literature? It’s the key to unlocking the treasures of world literature, enabling us to experience the wealth of human expression found in languages other than our own. It also serves as a powerful tool for cultural exchange, offering a window into the varied ways of life and thought that shape our world.  


Bridging Cultures Through Translation  

Translation is much more than converting text from one language to another; it’s about conveying meaning, culture, and context in a way that is accurate and resonant with the target audience. Whether through marketing translation, literary classics, or legal documents, translation is fundamental in bridging the gaps between languages and cultures.  

Are you looking to translate content for your business? Traduality has everything you need to get started. Create a free account with Traduality’s vetted translator marketplace to find translators for your projects, or contact us for more information! 

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