Service Type Description What this means


1.1      General Translation

The translation of the non-specialised text. That is the text that we can all understand without needing specialist knowledge in some area.

The text may still contain some technical terms and jargon, but these will either be widely understood or easily researched.

The implication is that you don’t need someone with specialist knowledge for this type of translation – any professional translator can handle them.

Translators who only do this kind of translation (don’t have a specialist field) are sometimes referred to as ‘generalist’ or ‘general purpose’ translators.




Most business correspondence, website content, company and product/service info, non-technical reports. Most of the rest of the translation types in this Category do require specialist.

Service Type Description What this means


1.2      Technical Translation

We use the term “technical translation” in two different ways:

Broad meaning: any translation where the translator needs specialist knowledge in some domain or area.

This definition would include almost all the translation types described in this section.

Narrow meaning: limited to the translation of engineering (in all its forms), IT and industrial texts.

This narrower meaning would exclude legal, financial and medical translations for example, where these would be included in the broader definition.

Technical translations require knowledge of the specialist field or domain of the text.

That’s because without its translators won’t completely understand the text and its implications. And this is essential if we want a fully accurate and appropriate translation.

Good to know

Many technical translation projects also have a typesetting/DTP requirement. Be sure your translation provider can handle this component, and that you’ve allowed for it in your project costings and time frames.


Examples: Manuals, specialist reports, product brochures


Service Type Description


What this means


1.3      Scientific Translation

The translation of scientific research or documents relating to it. These texts invariably contain domain-specific terminology and often involve cutting edge research.

So, it’s imperative the translator has the necessary knowledge of the field to fully understand the text. That’s why scientific translators are typically either experts in the field who have turned to translation or professionally qualified translators who also have qualifications and/or experience in that domain.

On occasion, the translator may have to consult either with the author or other domain experts to fully comprehend the material and so translate it appropriately


Research papers, journal articles, experiment/trial results.


Service Type Description What this means

1.4      Medical Translation

The translation of healthcare, medical product, pharmaceutical and biotechnology materials.

Medical translation is a very broad term covering a wide variety of specialist areas and materials – everything from patient information to regulatory, marketing and technical documents.

As a result, this translation type has numerous potential sub-categories – ‘medical device translations’ and ‘clinical trial translations’, for example.


As with any text, the translators need to fully understand the materials they’re translating. That means sound knowledge of medical terminology and they’ll often also need specific subject-matter expertise.

Good to know

Many countries have specific requirements governing the translation of medical device and pharmaceutical documentation. This includes both your client-facing and product-related materials.


Medical reports, product instructions, labelling, clinical trial documentation


Service Type Description What this means

1.5      Financial Translation

In broad terms, the translation of banking, stock exchange, forex, financing and financial reporting documents.

However, the term is generally used only for the more technical of these documents that require translators with knowledge of the field.

Any competent translator could translate a bank statement, for example, so that wouldn’t typically be considered a financial translation.


You need translators with the domain expertise to correctly understand and translate the financial terminology in these texts.



Company accounts, annual reports, fund or product prospectuses, audit reports, IPO documentation


Service Type Description What this means

1.6      Economic Translations

1. Sometimes used as a synonym for financial translations.

2. Other times used somewhat loosely to refer to any area of economic activity – so combining business/commercial, financial and some types of technical translations.

3. More narrowly, the translation of documents relating specifically to the economy and the field of economics

As always, you need translators with the relevant expertise and knowledge for this type of translation


Service Type Description What This Means


1.7      Legal Translation

The translation of documents relating to the law and legal process Legal texts require translators with a legal background.

That’s because, without it, a translator may not:
– fully understand the legal concepts
– write in legal style
– understand the differences between legal systems, and how best to translate concepts that don’t correspond.

And we need all that to produce professional-quality legal translations – translations that are accurate, terminologically correct and stylistically appropriate.



Contracts, legal reports, court judgments, expert opinions, legislation


Service Type


Description What this Means

1.8      Juridical Translation

Generally used as a synonym for legal translations.

2. Alternatively, can refer to translations requiring some form of legal verification, certification or notarization that is common in many jurisdictions.




Service Type



1.9      Judicial Translation

Most commonly a synonym for legal translations.

2. Rarely, used to refer specifically to the translation of court proceeding documentation – so judgments, minutes, testimonies, etc.




Service Type Description Key features What this means

1.10    Patent Translation

The translation of intellectual property and patent-related documents.


Patents have a specific structure, established terminology and a requirement for complete consistency throughout – read more on this here. These are key aspects to patent translations that translators need to get right.

In addition, the subject matter can be highly technical.


You need translators who have been trained in the specific requirements for translating patent documents. And with the domain expertise needed to handle any technical content.



Patent specifications, prior art documents, oppositions, opinions


Service Type Description Key features What this means

1.11    Literary Translation

The translation of literary works – novels, short stories, plays, essays, poems. Literary translation is widely regarded as the most difficult form of translation.

That’s because it involves much more than simply conveying all meaning in an appropriate style. The translator’s challenge is to also reproduce the character, subtlety and impact of the original – the essence of what makes that work unique.

This is a monumental task, and why it’s often said that the translation of a literary work should be a literary work in its own right.


Literary translators must be talented wordsmiths with exceptional creative writing skills.

Because few translators have this skillset, you should only consider dedicated literary translators for this type of translation.



Service Type


Description What this means

1.12    Commercial Translation

The translation of documents relating to the world of business.

This is a very generic, wide-reaching translation type. It includes other more specialised forms of translation – legal, financial and technical, for example. And all types of more general business documentation.

Also, some documents will require familiarity with business jargon and an ability to write in that style.


Different translators will be required for different document types – specialists should handle materials involving technical and specialist fields, whereas generalist translators can translate non-specialist materials.



Business correspondence, reports, marketing and promotional materials, sales proposals

Service Type Description


What this means

1.13    Business Translations

A synonym for Commercial Translations


1.14    Administrative Translations

What is it?
The translation of business management and administration documents.

So, it’s a subset of business / commercial translations.

What this means
The implication is these documents will include business jargon and ‘management speak’, so require a translator familiar with, and practised at, writing in that style.

Management reports and proposals

1.15    Marketing Translations

What is it?

  1. The translation of advertising, marketing and promotional materials.
  2. This is a subset of business or commercial translations.

Key features

  1. Marketing copy is designed to have a specific impact on the audience – to appeal and persuade. So, the translated copy must do this too.
  2. But a direct translation will seldom achieve this – so translators need to adapt their wording to produce the impact the text is seeking.
  3. And sometimes a completely new message might be needed – see transcreation in our next category of translation types.

What this means
Marketing translations require translators who are skilled writers with a flair for producing persuasive, impactful copy.

As relatively few translators have these skills, engaging the right translator is key.

Good to know
This type of translation often comes with a typesetting or DTP requirement – particularly for adverts, posters, brochures, etc.

Its best for your translation provider to handle this component. That’s because multilingual typesetters understand the design and aesthetic conventions in other languages/cultures. And these are essential to ensure your materials have the desired impact and appeal in your target markets.

Advertising, brochures, some website/social media text.

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