Understanding Different Types of Translations 


Did you know that there are more than just two types of translations? The exponential growth and demand for quality translations are shaping the entire language services industry. To the increasing globalization of businesses, translation has evolved, and all become all but the center of any business that wants to target international audiences.

In essence, translations can be divided into two main categories: translation and interpretation.

But these two groups can be subcategorized, forming a handful of distinct and specialized areas of translation. Here’s a summary of the different styles and types of translations professional translators deal with on a daily basis!

Main Types Of Translations

General Translations

General translations do not require specialist knowledge in any particular field. In these types of translations, there isn’t any specialized terminology. The daily news, the games you play, your mobile apps, and even the website you browsed before this one all form part of general translation tasks.

Specialized Translations

Specialized translations require translators to have knowledge of special terms and a deep understanding of the context of the source text.

Examples of specialized types of translations include:


The type of documents translated under this category includes company accounts, tender documents, reports, business correspondence, and memos.


One of the most complex translation fields is legal translation as it involves translating contracts, certificates, agreements, treaties, and wills, to name but just a few. Legal translation is a taxing field to work in as there is no room for error. In most cases, legal translation services are used in courtrooms and can also form part of general translation.


Medical translation is a highly specialized niche. Any content that is patient-related or product-related, including research papers, clinical trial paperwork, and quality management certificates, needs to be translated. And this is why medical translation is so complex.


Financial translation revolves around financial documents such as bank records and account statements. Even though the actual content might be less to translate, accuracy is imperative in this field.


Technical translation revolves around technical documentation such as engineering, IT, electronics, mechanics, and industrial texts. The field of technical translation is a complex field of work and can be just as complicated as legal translation. Professionals that do technical translation work are fluent in multiple languages and do more than just general translation.

Certified Translations

Any official documents, acts, contracts, and educational certificates translated for institutions and organizations have to be certified. These documents and certificates are translated by sworn translators (or certified translators in countries where the sworn translator profession does not exist). These professionals certify the authenticity of documents with their stamp and signature, and they also certify the accuracy of such records. Certified translators also verify the authenticity of legal translation work.

Literary Translation

Literary translation includes translating text from a foreign language into another language. In a way, these translators are co-creators of the final version of a book. Literary translators must have excellent language, interpretation, and literary skills to capture and accurately convey the message’s essence within the content of the literary translation.

The style of the text, idioms, rhythm, and sounds (onomatopoeias or alliterations), which can be challenging to translate into a foreign language, makes literary translation a very complex task. Like medical, literary translation is a complex field of translation.

Automated Translations

Automated translations, or machine translation, relies on unique computer algorithms. While machine translation can quickly translate some content, the results are not always reliable and accurate. In some cases, human translators and machine translators work hand-in-hand in a translation process where humans check the accuracy and grammatical correctness of content translated by software.

Software Localization

Software localization addresses the technical translation of the user interface, system messages, error messages, and help files. All this is translated for the sake of adapting the content to suit the target audience.

These kinds of translation projects are critical for businesses targeting foreign audiences as part of their globalization campaigns. The translation process is essentially a key component of the localization process.

Multimedia Localization

Multimedia localization is a specialized sector of the translation industry. It focuses on the translation of graphics, animations, GIFs, and infographics. Companies that initially publish their multimedia content in English have to localize it to reach a greater number of audiences in their own languages.

Even though it might seem like an easy process, this kind of translation is somewhat tricky as it involves adapting the content to the local culture and customs in order to keep the audience engaged.

Final Thoughts On The Types Of Translations

Different types of translations require different approaches and processes. But all translations help facilitate smooth communication and overcome the language barrier.

Source: https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/understanding-different-types-of-translations/




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