What Are Some Common Translation Techniques?

Translation Techniques

Global companies are constantly finding new ways to increase their sales and boost profit ratios. Businesses are looking beyond their domestic markets to capture a higher number of customers and generate more revenue. When it comes to globalization, translation is one of the most vital aspects of capturing diversified markets.

Businesses have to get their global translation right to target global audiences and effectively convey their brand message to them. There are different translation techniques and tools you can use to seamlessly manage your translation project for international markets. To get high-quality and accurate translations, companies can get reliable translation management services from LPSs, or hire experienced professional linguists. Read this article to learn about different translation techniques and tools that you can use to generate quality and agile translations.

Two Common Translation Techniques 

Various methods and technologies translators use to convert source text into different target languages. Considering the type of translations and core demand of clients, you must choose the right translation technique accordingly. Here are the two most commonly used translation techniques available.

Direct Translation 

As the name suggests, in direct translations you translate the source text into the target language using suitable alternatives. This sort of translation method you can use to translate scientific and technical text. While translating the text, translators try their best to translate the text in a way that resembles the meaning, style, and tone of the original message. Professional linguists should be aware of these translation rules and know when to use which translation technique.

There are two different ways you can do direct translations.

Loan Translation

In such translations, the translators translate the sentences and phrases from the source text and put together the result to form new phrases in the target language. Such a technique of translating text from one language to another is also known as the Calque method.


 In this method of translation, the translators take some words and phrases from the source language and use them in the target language. Translators use this technique when they find no direct alternative to a word in the target language. Using borrowed words allows the translator to sustain the clarity of translation when there are no direct translations available.

Literal Translations

 If you are working on two language pairs that share a lot of resemblances. For instance, if both source and target language use similar words in the vocabulary, or they use the same grammar rules while structuring the sentences then the literal technique can be used to produce translations.

Oblique Translation 

Unlike the direct translation method, in oblique translations, the translator takes a creative approach to translate the source text message into the target language. Instead of swapping the words between two languages, this method focuses on converting the core message of the original text to the target language. Here are three ways to produce oblique translations.


In this translation technique, the translation tries to change the tone and expression of the source message. For instance, if the source text is stating something as “weird”, the translator may change its tone and descript the same phrase as “not normal”. In oblique translations, it is not about converting the text directly into another language, it is more about conveying the message in the text into the target language.


This technique could be used when the source and target language used slightly different grammar rules and sentence structures. In this technique, the translator may change the word class in the source text. For instance, a word, which is a verb in the source text, may change into a noun while translating into another language. This way, you are not breaking the grammar rules of the target language while translating the text.


When you are translating idioms, proverbs, and other cultural phrases, using a literal translation technique is not cool. In this situation, the translator uses the reformulation method in which they focus on converting the expression into another language instead of doing direct translations. The translator may use the idioms of another language that have the same meaning or invoke the same emotions. The same thing goes for translating jokes into another language. Instead of a translation joke, the translator prefers using a new joke, which is similar to the original one. This way you keep your translation culture appropriate and easy to comprehend by target audiences.

Cultural Substitution 

This translation technique is also very much similar to reformulation. In this method, the translator replaces the cultural references of the source’s language with similar references in the target language. It helps them keep their translations culturally appropriate. For instance, if your source text talks about a cultural festival, which is not celebrated in the target culture, the translator would rather use a cultural festival from the target culture to make the message more resonating with the audience. Adapting your translations to the culture is the core of localization, that’s why it is a preference to get your translation management services from a Marshub language service provider.

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