Types of Translation
Due to the continuing involvement of the translation industry there are now certain terms used to define specialist translations that do not fall under a general category. This brief guide offers an explanation of some of the more common translation terms used.
The translation of administrative texts. Although administrative has a very broad meaning, in terms of translation it refers to common texts used within businesses and organisations that are used in day to day management. It can also be stretched to cover texts with similar functions in government. For more information on our administrative translation, see our translation services page or contact one of our team to discuss.
Not to be confused with CAT, computer assisted translations, which refer to translations carried out by software. Computer translation is the translation of anything to do with computers such as software, manuals, help files, apps etc.
Financial translation is the translation of texts of a financial nature. Anything from banking to asset management to stocks and bonds could be covered under our financial translation service.
Legal translations are one of the trickiest translations known. At its simplest level it means the translation of legal documents such as statutes, contracts and treaties.
al translation will always need specialist attention. This is because law is culture-dependent and requires a translator with an excellent understanding of both the source and target cultures.
Most translation agencies would only ever use professional legal to undertake such work. This is because there is no real margin for error; the mistranslation of a passage in a contract could, for example, have disastrous consequences.
When translating a text within the field of law, the translator should keep the following in mind. The legal system of the source text is structured in a way that suits that culture and this is reflected in the legal language; similarly, the target text is to be read by someone who is familiar with another legal system and its language.
A medical translation will cover anything from the medical field from the packaging of medicine to manuals for medical equipments to medical books.
Like legal translation, medical translation is specialisation where a mistranslation can have grave consequences.
Commercial translation or professional business translation covers any sort of document used in the business world such as correspondence, company accounts, tender documents, reports, etc. Commercial translations require specialiast translators with knowledge of terminology used in the business world.
Similar to commercial or business translation, economic translation is simply a more specific term used for the translation of documents relating to the field of economics. Such texts are usually a lot more academic in nature.
A general translation is the simplest of translations. A general text means that the language used is not high level and to a certain extent could be in layman’s terms. There is no specific or technical terminology used. Most translations carried out fall under this category.
A literary translation is the translation of literature such as novels, poems, plays and poems.
The translation of literary works is considered by many one of the highest forms of translation as it involves so much more than simply translating text. A literary translator must be capable of also translating feelings, cultural nuances, humour and other subtle elements of a piece of work.
Some go as far as to say that literary translations are not really possible. In 1959 the Russian-born linguist Roman Jakobson went as far as to declare that “poetry by definition [was] untranslatable”. In 1974 the American poet James Merrill wrote a poem, “Lost in Translation,” which in part explores this subject.
A technical translation has a broad meaning. It usually refers to certain fields such as IT or manufacturing and deals with texts such as manuals and instructions. Technical translations are usually more expensive than general translations as they contain a high amount of terminology that only a specialist translator could deal with.
Statements of Truth, Translations and witnesses in other languages
The requirements of the CPR that deal with the signing of statements of truth when the witness is unable to read the document are clear and easy to follow, but it can be easy to fail in order to get it right; this is often problematic and it can be something to be relied upon in a successful application to strike-out a claim.
1. CPR 22 3A.1 states:
“Where a document containing a statement of truth is to be signed by a person who is unable to read or sign the document, it must contain a certificate made by an authorised person.”
An authorised person is specified by CPR 22 3A.2 to be a person able to administer oaths and take affidavits, but they do not need to be independent of the parties or their representatives.
2. CPR 22 3A.4 directs that the form of the certificate which must be used appears in Annex 1 to the Practice Direction:
“I certify that I [name and address of authorised person] have read over the contents of this document and the declaration of truth to the person signing the document [if there are exhibits, add ‘and explained the nature and effect of the exhibits referred to in it’] who appeared to understand (a) the document and approved its content as accurate and (b) the declaration of truth and the consequences of making a false declaration, and made his mark in my presence.”
3. The consequences of failing to verify a document with a statement of truth are set out at CPR 22 4. A statement of case remains effective, unless it is struck out, but a party may not rely on the contents of a statement of case as evidence until it has been verified by a statement of truth. 4.2 states that any party can apply to the court for an unless order specifying that the statement of case must be verified by the service of a statement of truth, failing which the statement of case will be struck out. 4.3 specifies that the usual order for the costs of an application for an unless order will be that the party who failed to verify will pay the costs.
4. Many practitioners draft witness evidence in English and, if the witness requires the assistance of a translator, add a certificate in the form of Annex 1 to CPR 22 to the witness statement. However, CPR 32.4(1) specifies that “a witness statement is a written statement signed by a person which contains the evidence which that person would be allowed to give orally.” When a witness will not give their evidence orally in English, the statement should be in the language the witness will use; that statement should then be translated into English.
This article is provided free of charge for information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of Chambers or by Chambers as a whole.