The Different Types of Translation

types of translation

When thinking about far-reaching, important fields, the word “translation” likely comes to mind. Translations are varied and come with different techniques and styles than you could even imagine. The global reach of modern communications and connections has made it possible for people from all over the world to connect on some basic level. But languages, both colloquial and professional, can be difficult to align. Bridging language barriers requires extensive experience and expertise to ensure that communication doesn’t get twisted or misinterpreted.

The translation industry is here to stay; it’s large, complex, and covers dozens of sectors making it hard to be completely phased out. Corporate organizations and individuals seek out different translation services for different reasons. Below are some of the most common types of translation services used worldwide.


Legal Translation

Most people are aware that lawsuits and other legal matters can take lots of time and money when they’re in English. But there is an added layer of complexity when they need to be translated between languages and it’s very important to use a professional translation service for this.  Professional legal translators understand the “legalese” that lawyers use, stylistic features of common legal documents, and how the law differs across countries. Furthermore, they have a good grasp of related informational texts and are unafraid to consult with lawyers to assure everyone’s work is free from errors. Documents that may need translation include summons, agreements, warrants, contracts, wills, treaties, statutes, court proceedings, marriage certificates, etc.

The documents mentioned above are not exhaustive—the field of law is always changing, growing, and evolving. As it changes and grows, so too does the need for documents to be translated by competent professionals.


Technical Translation

Technical translation encompasses many types of industries and documents ranging from internal notes or memos, administrative reports and minutes of meetings to technical information and documentation such as within Information Technology, industrial texts, and other mechanical fields.

A technical translator is trained to understand the technical terms associated with many industries. In most cases, they are subject matter experts and understand that when translating in this field, a single error could be potentially dangerous. Quality control in this sector is key, and all professional translation services that take part in technical translation should have robust quality processes.


Medical Translation

The medical field covers not only documents for patients and doctors, but also clinical research and paperwork. Anyone who hears the word ‘medical’ knows that it covers serious and important information. Therefore, the medical translator needs to be as professional as he is efficient.

For medical translations, remember that medical practices and laws differ from state to state and country to country. The translator needs to have a deep knowledge of medical documents and terminology and superb quality control. Because a patient’s life could be on the line, it’s often legally mandated that patient-centered content is done by a professional agency that can certify that translation.


Pharmaceutical Translation

Pharmaceutical companies and the industry as a whole find translation services useful when extending globally and adapting content for patients/users who speak different languages. Content in this field includes drug labels, patent proceedings, and marketing campaigns. Whatever is the content may be, the translation must be accurate and meet applicable standards. Like in the medical field, incorrect translations could have far-reaching effects and be damaging to the company or dangerous to the consumer.

The pharmaceutical industry translation needs span from regulatory texts to research and financial reporting. And, because of all the associated biomedical terminology, only the best professional translators and subject matter experts should undertake the pharmaceutical translation.


Vital Records Translation

As the name implies, these documents or records often involve life events and maybe the custody of governmental bodies and authorities. These documents include marriage certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, divorce proceedings, etc. Institutions such as schools and other governmental organizations may need the translations of these documents in order to offer services.

Translation of vital records often needs the permission of agencies involved and the regulations that govern them. A professional translation service can help you navigate this process without losing time or making common errors. Procedures differ from country to country so the vital records translator must meet the recognized standards applicable to the target location.


Literary Translation

Literary translation includes translating stories, plays, novels, screenplays, and books. Literary translation is culturally very important and is often what people think of when they hear the word translation. This type of translation, not only translates concepts but also emotions and styles. Literary translation is very difficult because it involves a higher level of creation than other types of translation.

Because of the size of the target audience, where the readers physically are, and the nuances of literature styles across countries, only a professional translation service should ever undertake one of these projects. While there will always be some small aspects of a work that get “lost in translation”, literary translation is important because it brings new stories around the world.

In conclusion, translation helps knit the world together across different levels of communication and culture. And while there are other types of translation not listed above and new ones being created each day, these are the most commonly used around the world on a daily basis.


Regardless of what kind of translation service you need, Acutrans can help. Contact us today for a free translation services quote.