8 different types of translation services

Do you need to get a translation done? What kind of translator should you ask to provide you with a sworn translation? And for a technical translation?

The world of translation is a vast and varied one. There are different translation techniques, diverse theories about translation and eight different translation services types, including technical translation, judicial translation and certified translation.

1. Technical Translation

The term “technical translation” can be understood in two ways:

  • In its broadest sense, it is about translating user manuals, instructions leaflets, internal notes, medical translation, financial reports, minutes of proceedings, administrative terms in general, and so forth. These documents share the distinction of being for a specific and limited target audience and usually have a limited shelf-life.
  • In its most limited sense, technical translation refers to “technical” documentation such as engineering, IT, electronics, mechanics, and industrial texts in general. Technical translation requires a knowledge of the specialized terminology used in the sector of the source text.

2. Scientific Translation

As a sub-group of technical translation, as its name indicates, scientific translation deals with documents in the domain of science: articles, theses, papers, congress booklets, conference presentations, study reports etc.

3. Financial Translation

Financial or economic translation, of course, deals with documentation relating to the likes of finance, banking, and stock exchange activity. This includes company annual accounts, annual reports, financial statements, financial contracts, financing packages, and so forth.


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4. Legal Translation

Legal translation covers a wide range of different documents. These may include legal documents such as summons and warrants; administrative texts such as registration certificates, corporate statutes and remittance drafts; technical documents such as expert opinions and texts for judicial purposes; and a number of other texts in addition to reports and minutes of court proceedings.

5. Judicial Translation

Judicial translations, not to be confused with legal or certified translation, refers to the task of translation undertaken in a court setting. Judicial translators specialize in translating documents such as letters rogatory, minutes of proceedings, judgements, expert opinions, deposition, minutes of interrogation sessions etc.

6. Juridical Translation

Juridical translation refers to legally-binding documentation. For example, this could be the translation of documents such as laws; regulations and decrees; general sales and purchase conditions; legally binding contracts such as labor; license and commercial contracts; partnership agreements, accords; protocols and conventions; internal regulations; insurance policies; and bail assurance, among others. The juridical translator must have a solid legal background in addition to their linguistic training.

7. Certified Translation

A certified translator or sworn translator may use their signature to authenticate official translations. These are usually documents which require legal validation and are thus referred to as “certified” or “sworn”. Certified translators often work in courtrooms as juridical translators, or act in the capacity of a legal expert, as well as providing translations of civil status documentation, marital agreements, divorce settlements, deceases, and wills, for example.

8. Literary Translation

This is probably the hardest of all the different kinds of translation, as obviously, the translator must first try to render the semantic content of the original text (as should be the case for the translation of any kind of text), and then in addition deal with a number of other difficulties, such as:

  • Polysemic word play specific to literary texts, as behind a word or a phrase, there lie a number of connotations which the writer has tried to transmit or hint at subtly and which the translator must attempt to render;
  • The author’s own particular literary style; the translator must try to transmit the unique way in which the writer has couched their ideas;
  • Rhythm, meter and the innate balance of the phrase; this is particularly important in poetry but equally present in prose, where the translator must work out the best way to resolve the delicate task of rendering the music inherent to the text –assonance, alliteration and asyndetons.

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