Five Common Types of Translation Services

With the accelerating pace of business globalization, translation services have become indispensable to marketing strategies for virtually all sectors. Despite their differences in specialty, businesses have drawn upon five main types of translation services to achieve their goal of breaking down language barriers with international customers. Each sector has its own terminology and compliance to observe. So only an area-specific translator with full experience in a particular translation type can produce the best possible results. This post provides an introduction to five translation types commonly requested by customers.

What Is the Meaning of Translation?

The meaning of translation is not limited to the language industry but is also shared by biology, mathematics, and the technical industry. But this article will only focus on the meaning of language translation and the main types. Language translation refers to converting words from one language to another without changing their meanings. The rendering of the source text must be the equivalent concept in the target language. 

Language translation matters a great deal in modern times because it facilitates cross-cultural communication in the interconnected world. Businesses aspiring to go global will need to use translation services at some point. When that time comes, it’s critical to remember only a professional and responsible translation supplier can understand the true meaning of a translation.

So how many types of translation services are there? Read on and find out.

Language Translation Types

Language translation is a broad field in which services can be divided into business-related and non-business-related types of translation. These translation types often overlap with one another. Even though a translator generally specializes in one type of translation, an expert is also highly experienced in handling situations where more types of translation intersect. Language companies will only assign the translation work to a translator who used to process the same/similar types of translation document with excellence. This means those whose specialism doesn’t lie in the content’s translation type won’t lay hands on the project in the first place. 

Five types of translation are regularly requested and commonly performed: they are document translation, technical translation, business translation, certified translation, and literary translation. We will break down each of these translation types one by one.

As its name suggests, document translation is the activity of rendering the content in the documents with the required target language. The types of document for translation range from official document, legal document, business document, to medical document, technical document, financial document, digital document, and personal document. 

Depending on the purpose of translation, people can use machine translation or professional human translation services to get the results accordingly. For example, if the translation is for internal communication or personal use, the fuzzy results produced by machine translators are understandable, though not necessarily accurate. The glitches may be harmless in this case. But if you use the translation for business/official purposes, that’s another story. A story that ends with a tarnished brand image. Always opt for human translation or at least MTPE when giving off professionalism is paramount to you.

Technical translation finds widespread applications across multiple industries, from marketing and advertising to medical and pharmaceuticals. Businesses in these sectors must comply with international standards before being able to serve their global customers. There are a wide range of technical translation concerning document types, including datasheets, user guides, manuals, patents, manufacturing standards, specifications, technical drawings, system designs, system architecture, system requirements, and test methods

Translators who typically deal with general translation are usually not qualified to translate technical types of translation. Because only dedicated technical translators with industry-specific knowledge and experience in translating the subject matter can accurately and clearly deliver the technical message by choosing the right words from a specific industry terminology. Avoid machine translation if you are translating this type of document.

Companies aspiring to break into international markets will inevitably need business translation services at some point. These business-related documents are demanding in translation accuracy and consistency, which only specialized commercial translators with business jargon and matching industry-specific expertise can provide. 

Business types of translation cover a broad range of documents: annual reports, brochures and catalogs, business proposals, business websites, contracts, financial reports, insurance documents, private and public offerings, tender documents, pitch decks, memos, etc. Business translation types usually concern official documents with no room for error, leaving human translation the only reliable option. Otherwise, your well-written and impactful business content will fail to serve its original purpose.

Certified translation translates the content in the document with a certification provided by the certified translator to ensure the translation accuracy and completeness of the translation. Certified translation is usually submitted to official bodies for review. The requirements of a certified translation vary with countries and document types. Only in-country, domain-specific native translators who know the ins and outs of the local certified translation process can give you the peace of mind that the agency won’t reject your translated documents because of the imperfect translation or format. 

Apart from the translation with certification, other types of certified translation include notarized translation, apostille translation, and sworn translation. Documents that need certified translation include but are not limited to academic credentials, adoption documents, criminal records, power of attorney, change of name document, financial statements, tax returns, and certificates translation such as marriage certificate, divorce certificate, driver’s license, ID cards, passports, visas, etc.   

Literary translation refers to the types of translation that involve documents such as books, poems, stories, plays, novels, scripts, advertising blurbs, magazines, editorial reviews, author bios, and other content produced with literary effort. This type of translation is considered one of the hardest forms of translation because literary translators often need to transcreate the concept in the source language with a culturally appropriate and accurate equivalent in the target language. During the process, the feelings, emotions, humor, and other cultural references behind each sentence must be considered. 

Good literary translators in a particular language pair are extremely difficult to find. Because they don’t merely translate the text but also go further to create locale-specific idioms, puns, rhyming words, anagrams, etc., that ring true to the target audience. They also need to understand and reproduce the author’s writing style in the target translation. This level of creation cannot be achieved with machine translation. It’s simply not there yet.

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Get your message across to an international audience clearly and consistently with a quality-driven language service supplier. Explore other types of translation services or get a free quote using the form on the right.

What Industries Are Using These Types of Translation?

In our experience as a translation service provider, 14 common industries frequently use different types of translation services. You can read more by clicking on each of these industries. However, you can contact our team for further information if your industry is not listed below. With a global network of 30,000 translators, we can quickly connect you with the best-qualified native translators who speak your industry’s language.

The above types of translation services are most requested by the following industries:

Summarizing Different Types of Translation

The requirements and processes of different types of translation services vary from industry to industry. Despite various types, all translation services are meant to enable seamless communication between multilingual parties. However, it’s important to remember that a translator skilled at translating one topic may struggle to get the sentence right in another. You should choose the right linguistic expert with subject-related expertise in your project to get your message across effectively. Working with a trusted translation service provider like Wordspath will help you get there. 

Wordspath can help

Wordspath provides many different types of translation services for content related to diverse subject matters with accuracy and consistency. 

We take pride in our quality-driven workflow that combines the excellent work of our linguists, desktop publishers, project managers, customer service, and technical team. Their endless support allows Wordspath to provide first-rate language solutions in 150+ languages for thousands of customers who need to connect with the world.

Wordspath also offers machine translation post-editing services translating the content with our proprietary MT engine and having our in-house/contracted linguists review,  edit, polish, and proofread the results.

Meanwhile, we are highly experienced in delivering tailor-made localization-related solutions such as desktop publishing, transcription, subtitling, and voiceover. Our ability to quickly handle a wide range of content types between nearly all language combinations sets us apart from our competitors. Should you need to consult on your best-fit language solution, you can contact us through live chat or email to Or simply request a free quote.

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