Is Your Translation Vendor Employing The Right Translation Techniques?

It is essential to have some knowledge of what methods and techniques your translation services provider is using in your projects. This way you can monitor your translation projects and guide your service provider about the innovations they can bring for further improvement in quality. Any certified translation service uses translation techniques according to the genre of the text, the type of translation required (literary, medical, legal), the purpose of translation and the target audience for whom it is being carried out.

These document translation techniques are used according to the method of the translation. Translation of a text maybe literal (word for word), interpretative-communicative (translating the sense of the text) or free (where the translator modifies the text semantically to suit the purpose.)

Your German, French or Chinese translator chooses the method depending on the requirement of the text.

Translation techniques

A translator is bound to face problems when translating a text. So he/she takes the help of translation techniques to fill the gaps which cannot be filled by employing any skill on the part of the linguist. Employing the wrong technique can be disastrous. We will briefly discuss some translation techniques which are generally used by translators.


Translators use adaptation to make the text more understandable for the target audience. For example, a cultural element in the source text is replaced by another for the benefit of the target audience. In this technique cultural equivalents are found. (Baseball can be changed into futbal in Spanish)


Sometimes your translator will have to go a step forward to make the source text intelligible for the target audience. Amplification means an elaboration of the text, introducing details into it which are not originally there.


An analyst from The Marketing Analysts Translation Service Company based in Houston explained the concept of borrowing to us. He said that borrowing is another technique which linguists use, when they face a problem while translating. Borrowing as the word suggests means using a word  from another language as it is. Sometimes the spellings are changed which comes into the category of naturalization.


Calque is another technique which translators employ. It is the literal translation of a word or phrase of the source text because no substitute of that word/phrase exists in the target language for cultural reasons.


Compensation is another technique which is employed by the translators on occasion when the need arises for it. An element in the source text is introduced at a latter stage in the translated text for better comprehension and understanding. Introducing it in the same place as the source text at times can result in confusion.


To describe a word or phrase for what it is. Instead of one word translation, the linguist elaborates the function/purpose of that thing.

Established Equivalent

Not all expressions or phrases have an established equivalent in the target language but some have. Most of the idioms have an established equivalent in other languages.


It is to use a very general term to translate a word. This technique is used when the linguist feels that not doing so will confuse the target audience. Or if that thing has a cultural significance and isn’t used in the target culture.

Transposition and Variation

Transposition means to change a portion of the source text grammatically when translating in the target language. As in replacing an adverb for an adjective or a connective for another conjunction which suits better in the target language.

Variation means to linguistically change the tone of the text, style, intonation pattern etc when translating a story for theater or adapting a novel for young readers.


This technique squeezes the text in the target language. For example, instead of saying ‘the month of fasting’  an Arabic translator will preferably use the word Ramadan.

If you regularly get your content translated into other languages, you should have a knowledge of all these techniques your translation provider can employ for effective localization of content. If your service provider is not aware of these techniques, you can guide them. If you think that your translation vendor cannot employ these techniques cleverly, come to The Marketing Analysts Translation Service Company. We are in this business for almost two decades now. For further information visit our website (