Translation Techniques

  • Translation Techniques

    Translation Techniques

    Translation consists of conveying the same message from language to another, keeping in mind the culture, space and time of the original and target language.

    A clear difference exists between translation techniques and translation methods. The latter are applied to the entire text, while translation techniques apply different methodologies within the text.

    A good translator must have the sufficient knowledge to know how to use the suitable translation techniques for each text. We will you the most common translation techniques:


    • Modulation is a translation technique in which the message varies through a change of perspective of semantic change. For example:

    Tranquilízate – Don’t get so excited

    • Transposition consists of carrying out a change in the grammatical structure of the sentence without altering its significance. For example:

    No tardaré  – I won’t be late

    • Literal Translation. Literal translation is a translation technique with no room for double meanings, that is to say, the translation of the text is carried out literally without altering the structure nor the significance of the text. This technique is used very little, since not many words with a unique translation in a language exist. Additionally, the significance and the feel of the text is usually lost, such as what happens with automatic translators.
    • Tracing is a very similar translation technique to literal translation, however tracing consists of taking an expression from the original language and translating it into the target language without the need to respect its structure. For example:

     Balonmano – Handball

    • Borrowing consists of using a word or expression from the original text in the target text. Normally it is indicated in italics to identify this type of translation technique. For example:

    Software, hardware, vedette…

    • Equivalence consists of translating a text using different structural and stylistic resources of the original language, provided that they convey the same message, For example:

    Llueve a cántaros –  It’s raining cats and dogs

    • Adaptation is a translation technique in which the cultural elements of the original language are adapted to the culture of the target language. For example:

    To have coffee in Spain, is known is: To have tea in England.


    Next we will show you what are the most common translation methods. Don’t miss out and follow us!


    AltaLingua es una agencia de traducción e interpretación de referencia en España que brinda servicios lingüísticos integrales a empresas en España y el mundo. AltaLingua cuenta con sistemas de gestión de calidad según las normas ISO 9001:2015 y UNE-EN 17100:2015.

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