Understanding 12 Different Types of Translation

June 25, 2018
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Translation is a very fast evolving discipline and its exponential growth is rapidly shaping the Translation Industry. Expert translators here at TranslateDay will explain you in this article what are the twelve most important Types Of Translation, including but not limited to: Legal Translation, Literary Translation and Administrative translation.

We will also mention some of the main types of specialized translation like Medical Translation that may be required for certain situations, and each one is unique, with its own process and specific requirements. 

We will try to answer some of the most important questions like: How many types of translation are there? What are the most important ones? Are there different types of translators? Stay with us if you want to know the answer!


Introduction – The Translation Industry and Professional Translators

Translation is a field that is seeing a lot of activity nowadays, thanks to the increasing globalization of businesses. International travel has also increased significantly – for both business and leisure. This means there is, at any given time, a large number of people in a country that don’t necessarily speak the local language well. 

Of course, this augurs well for the translation industry. There has been a substantial growth and new types of translations are emerging. Each one is unique, with its own process and specific requirements.

This ramification happening at the Translation Discipline also requires a shift to a very particular type of translator, one that is trained for certain businesses and has a very specific knowledge.

Experienced professional translators, whether working individually, or as part of a company, can provide exactly the kind of translation services you need, but also help you with things like creating a glossary, a translation memory (TM – when computers are used to speed up the process) and other assets. This becomes very valuable and assists in the creation of content that is consistent and can be reused – eventually translating into cost reduction, and saving time through the elimination of duplication of efforts.

On your part, it is important that you have a meeting with your translation service provider to apprise them of your exact needs – the more info you can give them about your business and your target market, the easier it will be for them to provide you with the best service possible.

If you can, do try to specify important technical terms or jargon used in your industry, and a style guide; also provide some training sessions to familiarize them with the products or services you offer.

If you are a business with international business, it would be beneficial to partner up with an experienced professional, or a translation services company like TranslateDay, who is capable of understanding your specific requirements and accommodating them:

Need help translating legal documents? TRANSLATE MY DOCUMENTS NOW

The 12 Main Types of Translation

Translations can be broadly classified into two big categories of translationBusiness related, and Non- Business related. However, some kinds of translation sort of overlap in both categories. So, let us examine the 12 most important types of translation that are performed nowadays:

Different Types of Translation

1. Literary Translation

Literary Translation – The name is pretty self-explanatory- It refers to the translation of literary works like stories, novels, poems, and plays. It is often considered the highest form of translation because a literary translation is so much more than the mere conveying of the meaning and context of the document in the source language into the target language. It involves incorporating the appropriate cultural nuances, translating humour, feelings, emotions, and other subtle elements of a particular work.

Many litterateurs believe that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to translate works of literature – especially poetry. Some examples of situations that could be very difficult are – rhyming words, puns, idioms, anagrams, and so on. Often, there are no appropriate translations in the target language, and the nuance is lost.

Have you ever tried translating a joke into another language? If you have, you would understand this. Haven’t you felt, that it didn’t seem as funny when translated? Often, many subtle connotations the writer has hinted at are lost in translation. Then there is the matter of the individualistic writing style of the author – this type of translator has a tough job in attempting to convey that uniqueness.

2. Software Localization

Software Localization

Of course, in Software Localization the main thing to translate is the user interface, but software localization does not end there. It includes error messages, system messages, help files and so on. Here too, the content needs to be adapted to suit the local (target) culture.

At times, the translator may be faced with the prospect of internationalization – take a product like Coca-Cola, which is available almost everywhere in the world. The company will need to have their website in multiple languages, and rather than create multiple websites, which could cost a ton of money, it would make more sense to have the software handle several languages, and allow the user to translate the page into a language of their choice.

If you go to Wikipedia searching for info on anything, you will notice the choice of languages displayed on the left. The localized software may incorporate numerous practical and linguistic issues. Hence it is vital that it is thoroughly tested before releasing. Reputed translation services companies often have a multiple language testing centers to test localized software.

3. Commercial Translation

Commercial Translation is a kind of translation that necessitates types of translators who possess specialized skills, like knowledge of the business jargon, and the industry to which the business belongs. The types of texts in the translation of commercial documents could include business correspondence, reports, tender documents, company accounts, memos and so on. Sometimes, this could overlap with legal translation if the company handles legal paperwork.

Read More On Interpreter Vs Translator: What Are The Differences?

Legal Translation is one of the most complex translations, and involves birth certificate translations and marriage certificate translations, translating contracts, agreements, treaties, memorandums, wills, and so on. A good translator needs to understand the various underlying contexts of the documents and that of the two regions or countries for which the documents are intended – the socio-cultural aspects, and the politico-legal aspects as well. They would then need to translate it in a manner that the target audience easily grasps the text.

Even if you are familiar with the cultures and other aspects and are highly skilled at translation, you may need to consult legal professionals so as to ensure that your legal translation is completely error-free.

5. Technical Translation

Technical translation

Technical Translation involves any technical content that needs to be translated – user guides, manuals, online help text, instruction booklets, training materials and videos, marketing materials for technical fields like manufacturing, science or engineering – all of this comes in the ambit of technical translation.

Formatting is an important aspect where the translation of technical content is concerned, as desktop publishing or DTP is required for it. Often the screenshots and even graphics have to be edited to make it suitable for the target language/s. Using a content management system or CMS will help you keep cost down.

When choosing a translator, it is essential to check how well versed they are with the terminology and jargon used in your specific industry – if they are not as familiar with that stuff as you’d like but they are proficient in the translation as such.

It would make sense to provide training for them to familiarize them with your industry in general, and your business in particular. Remember that as diverse as the types of translations are, so the different types of translator is.

As a translation service provider, it would be worth investing in an efficient TMS or translation management system; it can automate your project tasks and bring down your admin costs.


By nature, technical content translation is complicated, and even a tiny error may result in a huge mistake at a later point; therefore, it is a good practice to check how stringent the quality control measures taken by the translation service provider are. Ideally, they should be ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015 certified.

6. Judicial Translation

When we talk about Judicial Translation, we basically refer to the activity of translating court documents like depositions, minutes of meetings, expert testimonies, witness testimonies, judgments, letters rogatory, interviews and more – basically, activities related to cases.

Yes, the nature and scope of this type of translation is different from legal translation; although both are related translation types, the latter is about translating legal documents – which could be very old too.

7. Administrative Translation

Administrative Translation – In the realm of translation, administrative refers to the translation of management texts we often see being used in organizations – whether huge corporations or regional businesses. Though pretty similar to commercial translations, it is not exactly the same. While administrative translation can be called a subset of commercial translation, all commercial translation is not necessarily administrative.

Understanding 12 Different Types of Translation

Business License Translation Service

You have a Local Business and want to expand to a foreign country? Then you need a Business Document Translation. Trust us to get your Business License translated to more than 65 languages, we translate business documents online in less than 24 hours and every translation is certified.

8. Medical Translations

Medical Document Translations

Medical Translation involves any medical content that is patient related, like labels, packaging, instructions, or software, and content that is product related, like research papers, clinical trial paperwork, quality management certificates and the like, usually needs translation. It is absolutely imperative that the translation service providers are experienced, have the requisite knowledge, and are in-country professionals.

If you want to know on Medical Translation, please check our post on Medical Translation – Requirements, Categories and Examples

Translation of medical documents can also be very tricky as the requirements of general translation can differ from country to country; a kind of translator or company specialized in medical documents would be your best bet, as they would be familiar with the intricacies of all the different requirements.

If you want the best translation service provider, who follows a high level of quality control, like a company with an ISO 13485:2016 certification. The general certifications that signify quality, like ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 17100:2015 are, of course, a must-have.

Medical Translation is one type of specialized translation.

Understanding 12 Different Types of Translation

Patent Document Translation Service

Want to translate patent litigation documents for your invented product? Our expert translators ensure highest level of patent translation quality with their legal knowledge and technical expertise. Trust us to get the best patent translation online.

9. Website Translation

Website Translation is about website copy, subtitles for videos on your web pages, and any documents you have there. Here you will also need to change things like currencies, address formats and layouts, so as to appeal to the different local audiences.

You need to think about the languages you want your website to be translated into and localize only those pages which will apply to the target audience. Using a website translation management system to automate and ease the process if you have frequent updates to your website copy.

10. Script Translation

Script Translation is vital nowadays because of many popular movies and TV shows comming out of Hollywood and being dubbed into several languages and released worldwide.

Sometimes the film are from foreign languages and dubbed into English and other European languages – like the Telugu language blockbuster from India, Baahubali, which was released in Chinese and German, among other languages.

The Harry Potter series was also released into dozens of languages. But for these releases to happen, the scripts have to be translated first – and the dialogues.

You can say this is a type of literary translation, but it’s not exactly the same. It can be very dicey, as translating punchlines, jokes or catchy phrases into another language to make the same impact is very difficult. With more movies being released in multiple languages nowadays, this type of translation is very much in demand today.

Understanding 12 Different Types of Translation

Transcript Translation Service

Need college transcript translations or academic transcript translation services for your job positions or to study abroad? Our professional transcript translators help you with accurate, fast and certified transcript translation services.

11. Multimedia Localization

Videos, graphics, animations, GIFs, infographics – all this can be grouped under Multimedia Localization ; and this is very important today, as more and more companies are creating multimedia content to widen their audience reach and keep them engaged.

Localizing this content can get quite tricky though it may look simple from the outside – as it has to be appropriate for the local culture, and appeal to the customers in that region. If you don’t do it correctly, you could end up offending your audience – and drive them away.

Make sure you check the Top 10 Translation Problems and Solutions

12. Financial Translation

Financial Document Translation-inner

Financial Translation is about financial documents like bank records, statements, account statements and more – which sometimes need to be translated to make it easier for the target audience to comprehend. Here the actual content that you need to translate may be lesser, but it has to be done precisely; you may also be required to change the currencies – in which case, you would need to also convert the figures.

Understanding 12 Different Types of Translation

Bank Statement Translation Service

Still confused with Bank Statement Translation? Get the expert results from TranslateDay as we help you translate bank statements, both notarized and certified at affordable cost. You will have your certified bank statement translation in 24 hours.


Our research and types of translation study shows that these are the main types of translations, but there are many more translation types such as back translation, notarized translation, machine translation, etc, and there are all different kinds of processes and technologies that can work for the different types of translation projects. What makes sense for one translation type might not work for another.

Thanks for staying until the end and hope you learned something new about all these main different types of translations. Please do not forget to check our Blog to learn about this and other topics related to translation.

TranslateDay provides Legal Documents Translation for all kinds documents. It has been able to build an untarnishable trust with their prompt and accurate interpretation. It has become a fast rising player in the translation industry.

54 Comments. Leave new

Tiffany Locke
October 12, 2018 1:00 am

Thanks for explaining the different services, such as commercial translation which requires the translator to have specialized skills, such as understanding the industry. When choosing one, it might be a good idea to ensure you know the type of work you require so you can start researching companies. Researching online would be a great way to find companies with the right specialization for your situation, such as one that offers written document translations services, and could also help you learn about their qualifications so you can find the best professional to hire.

Giljonnys Dias da Silva
November 27, 2018 3:00 am

I’m someone very interested in the translation process. I have been writing a book for two years, and the theme of my book is the translation process. I’m very thankful for your text. It made clear many things I didn’t know.

Vivek Narayan
December 5, 2018 3:20 pm

what is popular translation?
it is a type of translation.
please mail me if you are aware of this.


I would really like to thank you for sharing this amazing and informative content with us. The most informative point in the content is ‘Legal Translation’, as we all know that for expanding business we need the legal documents translated.


I would like to express my appreciations for all the amazing information that you provide. I have learned a lot, and would like to learn more.


Legal Translation & Judicial Translation are they equally demanding ?and why?


Thank you so much for the post; reading your blog was very informative! I enjoyed reading and learning from your content.Once again thanks for taking the time to gather them all in one place!

Gabriel Mchana Munuve
January 16, 2020 11:34 am

Thanks for your information, I appreciate a lot.


thank you for this information , it has really helped me understand the importance of translations. Bravo.


Thank you for sharing.learned a lot from this.



Ibadullah Arife
July 23, 2020 5:00 am

I’ve been a translator for 2 years and continuing the same way, I reached the position of Quality Assurance officer. I’m glad for all the information stated above. I went through all types of translations and have got plenty of skills in this field. As per my experience, Technical and medical translations are the most difficult types and need full focus. If you are a beginner, please start from the audio-text translation; it will give you more experience and useful skills.


Dear Team,
I am a professional translator (EN-HI), would like to help you with translation services. Please, kindly let me know if you have to outsource any translation project.


Active Translation Services
October 4, 2020 5:32 pm

I must say Translateday Translation Services is one of the best translation companies in Dubai at least. They provide legal translation services, with a unique set of quality control methods. With a core group of professional linguists. It is one of the largest most recognized translation companies in Dubai, in fields such as law, diplomacy, technology, manufacturing, finance, insurance, food, retail, distribution, transportation.

Joseph Donahue
November 20, 2021 3:02 pm

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog.


Hi Joseph! Sorry to hear that, please keep in mind that our commenting submission is not instant due to spam and security validations. Thanks for your kind words.


Thanks a lot for this informative article. I had multiple tasks to complete but persisted until I reached this feedback box.
I appreciate all the time and hard work you put to have this work shown to the public on this website to spread benefit.

Actually, I am an interpreter and sometimes a translator in some of the fields you have explicated:
please stay in touch.
Cheers !


A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people don’t talk about such issues. To the next! Kind regards!

Jayme Silvestri
December 30, 2021 6:21 am

I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

Michael Yurchuk
February 11, 2022 6:35 am

Thanks for the blog. This blog contains so many pieces of information and this will help for my business. Thank you for posting and guiding us with your knowledge.

abril blanco
March 14, 2022 3:48 pm

do you think script translation field will pay well?

Legal Translation Dubai
June 15, 2022 7:57 am

If you’re moving to Dubai or if you live there and need translation services in your native language, you might think that finding the right legal translation in Dubai is easy.
4M can help you with that, it provides several services for your business or other legal matters.


Nice article, that was good reading. Thanks for your effort in the translation world.


Great blog once again. Thanks translateday.

Joseph Donahue
July 28, 2022 7:52 am

Actually great, in my honest opinion I think these types of translation are the most important ones and completely agree with the author.


Might be almost not possible to encounter well-educated individual on this issue, then again you appear like you know those things you’re raving about! Thanks A Lot.


Hello, Your translation blog is amazing for everyone and very informative for me. I am also a translator at Acadetudio. Acadestudio provides multiple language translation services. If you require any language services please contact.


I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content. This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

Abdullahi Aliyu
January 3, 2023 8:29 pm

I am a translator for almost 30 years (Hausa-English/English -Hausa) and I find this classification fascinating, tnx


kindly,send more books dealwith types translation

February 11, 2023 6:09 pm

Great Info! This post is impressive, valuable tool for both translators and clients, my best regards.

Nora Tenorio
March 4, 2023 6:37 am

It’s awesome for me to have a web page which is helpful for translators and for knowing types of translation and other stuff related with language learning. thanks Trans late day


If you aree going for finest contents lke me, only pay a visit this site everyday for the reason that itt offers feature contents, thanks.


Actually i have a business company. Gotta use this information for my international business dealing


Gr8 article! Helps a lot in understanding the differences fvor translating


As a translator, knowing types of translation and specialization is really good. thanks for such an amazing article


Great content, thanks for taking your time on writing this.

I am a Medical Translator
June 4, 2023 12:54 am

Simply amazing, this has been a really intesive and valuable read for anyone interested in the field of translation. Im a medical translator myself, and still learning so much. Thanks for taking your time


[…] Translation is one of the most important types of Specialized Translation. Unlike other different types of translations, it focus on subject matter experts to translate the content of medical texts. In medical […]


[…] Also Read about the 12 Main Different Types of Translations […]


[…] of translators give us the chance to also have professional translators specialized in many other different kinds of translation. We have more than a decade of experience doing specialized translations and we work globally […]


Tons of info for student translators here, thank you for your time

July 6, 2023 4:52 am

Probably more types of translation exist, but all belong to subcategories of these types in my opinion. Great blog and style


[…] important factor to take into consideration while translating technical content is the words which are required for the reader to be aware of. If the translation process is being […]

Somayeh Gharaee
August 8, 2023 7:26 am

Hi thank you for your good information please tell me how can I cite this content for my thesis?


[…] before, a word or a phrase can be translated in many different ways – that is, it can have different types of translations. This is because, fundamentally, the interpretation of texts is relative and subjective. Therefore, […]


Great content! That was enlightening actually. If I ever need translation services I will surely contact you.

Giljonnys Dias da Silva
December 5, 2023 11:43 pm

Hi! I’m Giljonnys Dias da Silva. I believe my English-Portuguese and Portuguese-English collocations dictionaries may be useful in the translation process. Thank you for the opportunity to share my bilingual dictionaries.

Giljonnys Dias da Silva
December 5, 2023 11:50 pm

Hi! I’m Giljonnys Dias da Silva. I believe my English-Portuguese and Portuguese-English collocations dictionaries may be useful in the translation process. Thank you for the opportunity to share my bilingual dictionaries.


Wow I have never thought translation had categories, but good article, it is really clear and concise. Will read more on the topic


How many Palestinians have been killed by Israel?
More than 15,900 Palestinians killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 -Palestinian health minister. RAMALLAH, West Bank, Dec 5 (Reuters) – More than 15,900 Palestinians, including 250 health workers, have been killed in Gaza since the outbreak of war on Oct. 7,

see why Israel can kill innocent children with American taxpayer at

if you do not do something then you do not have a HART


Probably the best categorization on translations i´ve seen. Referenced it in a university job recently


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Translate For Me
close slider

Get your Documents Professionally Translated now!

Our expert professional translators are at your service for just $23.00 per page. This price includes the complete online process of translation, certification and online delivery of your document in 1-2 days. For more info check translation princing and more info

TranslateDay is a Document Translation Agency specialized in large volume Legal Document translations. We are a 100% Internet-Based Translation Company with more than 90k Documents translated, 450 Monthly Active users and +15 years of experience. Feel free to check reviews and testimonials written by our clients

Any questions? We are happy to help, check our Frequently Asked Questions or Contact us!