See also: translaté

English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English translaten (to transport, translate, transform), from Anglo-Norman translater, from Latin trānslātus, perfect passive participle of trānsferō (to transport, carry across, translate).[1]

In this sense, displaced Old English wendan (“to translate,” also the word for “to turn” and “to change”).

Pronunciation edit

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /tɹɑːnzˈleɪt/, /tɹænz-/, /tɹɑːns-/, /tɹæns-/
  • (file)
  • (General American) IPA(key): /tɹænzˈleɪt/, /tɹæns-/, /ˈtɹænzˌleɪt/, /ˈtɹæns-/
  • (file)
  • (New Zealand) IPA(key): /ˈtɹɛnz.læɪt/, [ˈtʃɹʷɛ̃nzɫæe̯ʔ(t)]
  • Rhymes: -eɪt
  • Hyphenation: trans‧late

Verb edit

translate (third-person singular simple present translates, present participle translating, simple past and past participle translated)

  1. Senses relating to the change of information, etc., from one form to another.
    1. (transitive) To change spoken words or written text (of a book, document, movie, etc.) from one language to another.
      Hans translated my novel into Welsh.
      • 1583, William Fulke, “Hereticall Translation against Pvrgatorie, Limbvs Patrvm, Christs Descending Into Hel”, in A Defense of the Sincere and True Translations of the Holie Scriptures into the English Tong, against the Manifolde Cauils, Friuolous Quarels, and Impudent Slaunders of Gregorie Martin, [], London: [] Henrie Bynneman for George Bishop, →OCLC, page 199:
        [H]e [Theodore Beza] tranſlateth animam, a Carcaſe: (ſo calling our Sauiour Christes bodie, irreuerently, and wickedly) he tranſlateth infernum, graue.
      • 1828, A[ugustus] B[ozzi] Granville, “Picture of St. Petersburgh”, in St. Petersburgh. A Journal of Travels to and from that Capital; [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 103–104:
        "Fool!" said the Tzar [Peter the Great], turning to the monk, "what did I bid you do with the book?" "To translate it, Sire!" "Is this then a translation?" replied the Sovereign, pointing at the same time to a paragraph in the original, where the author had spoken harshly of Russia, and of the character of its inhabitants, but which the good-natured monk had in part omitted, and in part softened down in the most flattering manner to the nation. "Hence!" added the incensed monarch, "and be careful how thou translatest the work faithfully. It is not to flatter my subjects that I bade thee put the book into Russian and print it; but rather to correct them, by placing them under their eye the opinion which foreigners entertain of them, in order that they may at length know what they once were, and what they are now through my exertions."
      • 1997 September 13, Matt Cyr, “Saturday, September 13th [1997]”, in Something to Teach Me: Journal of an American in the Mountains of Haiti, Coconut Creek, Fla.: Educa Vision, published 2002, →ISBN, page 25:
        His English is still in its beginning stages, like my Creole, but he was able to translate some Creole songs that he's written into English—not the best English, but English nonetheless. [...] That kind of thing is very interesting to me. When I was learning Spanish, I would often take my favorite songs and try to translate them.
    2. (intransitive) To provide a translation of spoken words or written text in another language; to be, or be capable of being, rendered in another language.
      Hans translated for us while we were in Marrakesh.
      That idiom doesn’t really translate.
      ‘Dog’ translates as ‘chien’ in French.
      • 2004, Ted Jones, chapter 3, in The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers, London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, published 2007, →ISBN, page 58:
        However appealing Antibes may be to migrant authors, indigenous ones are relatively scarce. A notable exception is Jacques Audiberti, Antibes-born novelist and prolific playwright who wrote in the turn-of-the-century surrealist style, with titles that translate as Slaughter, or In Favour of Infanticide.
    3. (transitive) To express spoken words or written text in a different (often clearer or simpler) way in the same language; to paraphrase, to rephrase, to restate.
    4. (transitive) To change (something) from one form or medium to another.
      The director faithfully translated their experiences to film.
      • c. 1598–1600 (date written), William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i], page 190, column 1:
        [H]appy is your Grace / That can tranſlate the ſtubbornneſſe of fortune / Into ſo quiet and ſo ſweet a ſtile.
      • 2015, David [Walker] Gilbert, “A New Musical Rhythm was Given to the People: Ragtime and Representation in Black Manhattan”, in The Product of Our Souls: Ragtime, Race, and the Birth of the Manhattan Music Marketplace, Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, →ISBN, page 44:
        Embracing slave spirituals as the foundation of the Negro music he hoped to develop, Cook sought to translate their sonic power and racial character into forms more readily accessible to American audiences of all races in the twentieth century.
      1. (transitive, music) To rearrange (a song or music) in one genre into another.
    5. (intransitive) To change, or be capable of being changed, from one form or medium to another.
      Excellent writing does not necessarily translate well into film.
      His sales experience translated well into his new job as a fund-raiser.
      • 1999, Karen L. Hero, “Missed Opportunities: American Anthropological Studies of Micronesian Arts”, in Robert C. Kiste, Mac Marshall, editors, American Anthropology in Micronesia: An Assessment, Honolulu, Hi.: University of Hawaiʻi Press, →ISBN, page 257:
        When perfection is achieved, the thrill of recognition in the audience fulfills local sensibilities, but translates poorly into academic discourse.
      • 2015, Ross Hockrow, “The Editing Process”, in Out of Order: Storytelling Techniques for Video and Cinema Editors, San Francisco, Calif.: Peachpit Press, →ISBN, page 201:
        Sometimes, ideas don't end up translating well. That's the nature of art. You may have the greatest idea since sliced bread in your mind, but when you translate it into a film, it just may not work.
    6. (transitive, genetics) To generate a chain of amino acids based on the sequence of codons in an mRNA molecule.
      • 2015, Erich Grotewold, Joseph Chappell, Elizabeth A[nne] Kellogg, “Translation of RNA”, in Plant Genes, Genomes and Genetics, Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, →ISBN, section 15.1 (Translation: A Key Aspect of Gene Expression), page 207, column 2:
        All mRNAs are translated on the basis of consecutive groups of three bases, codons, being interpreted by the translational machinery [...]. Many diverse proteins and RNAs are involved in the translation of mRNA. First is the mRNA itself, which is the template "read" and translated into a protein product.
  2. Senses relating to a change of position.
    1. (transitive, archaic) To move (something) from one place or position to another; to transfer.
      • 1559, “Injunctions Given by the Queens Majesty, Concerning both the Clergy and Laity, of This Realm, Published Anno Domini Mdlix. being the First Year of the Raign of Our Soveraign Lady Queen Elizabeth”, in Anth[ony] Sparrow, compiler, A Collection of Articles, Injunctions, Canons, Orders, Ordinances, & Constitutions Ecclesiastical, with Other Publick Records of the Church of England, [], 4th edition, London: [] Blanch Rawlet [], published 1684, →OCLC, paragraph 19, page 73:
        Curſed be he which tranſlateth the bounds and dolles of his Neighbor.
      • 1696, Matthew Poole, “I. Samuel. Chap. XXVI.”, in Sam[uel] Clark, Edward Veale, editors, Annotations upon the Holy Bible. [], 3rd edition, volume I, London: [] Thomas Parkhurst, [], →OCLC, note z, column 1:
        [H]e [David] Accuſeth not the King [Saul], but tranſlateth the fault wholly upon his Evil Miniſters; as the Iſraelites do in the like Caſe, Exod[us] 5. 16.
      • 1838, [Edmund Flagg], chapter XXV, in The Far West: Or, A Tour beyond the Mountains. [] , volume II, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC, page 32:
        To find one's self suddenly translated from the wild, flowery prairie into the heart of an aged, moss-grown village, of such foreign aspect, withal, was by no means easy to reconcile with one's notions of reality.
      1. (transitive) To transfer the remains of a deceased person (such as a monarch or other important person) from one place to another; (specifically, Christianity) to transfer a holy relic from one shrine to another.
      2. (transitive, Christianity) To transfer a bishop or other cleric from one post to another.
        • 1605, M. N. [pseudonym; William Camden], “Grave Speeches, and Wittie Apothegms of Woorthie Personages of This Realme in Former Times”, in Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine, [], London: [] G[eorge] E[ld] for Simon Waterson, →OCLC, page 220:
          Iohn Fiſher Biſhop of Rocheſter, when the King [Henry VII of England] would have tranſlated him from that poore Biſhopricke to a better, he refuſed, saying: He would not forſake his poore little olde wife, with whom he had ſo long lived.
        • 1792, Anthony à Wood, The History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford, [], volume I, Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] John Gutch, →OCLC, page 661:
          One hall called Civil Law Hall or School, flouriſhed about this time (though in its buildings decayed) by the care of the learned and judicious Dr. Will[iam] Warham Principal or Moderator thereof; which he leaving this year (having before had ſeveral Deputies therein) becauſe of his preferment to the ſee of London, became void for ſome time. The year following the ſaid Warham was tranſlated to Canterbury, [...]
      3. (transitive, Christianity) Of a holy person or saint: to be assumed into or to rise to Heaven without bodily death; also (figurative) to die and go to Heaven.
        • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Hebrews 11:5, column 2:
          By faith Enoch was tranſlated, that he ſhould not ſee death; and was not found, becauſe God had tranſlated him: For before his tranſlation he had this teſtimonie, that he pleaſed God.
        • 1654, Samuel Clark[e], “The Life of Vitus Theodorus, who Dyed Anno Christi 1549”, in The Marrow of Ecclesiastical History, [], 2nd edition, London: [] T. V. and are to be sold by William Roybould [], →OCLC, page 323:
          He [Vitus Theodorus] was called to be a Paſtor at Norinberg, his own country, [...] till it pleaſed God to put an end to his labors, by tranſlating him out of this vale of tears into his Everlaſting Kingdom, Anno Chriſti 1549.
        • 1873, Thomas Wimberley Mossman, quoting Pope Clement I (in translation), “The Genuine and Supposititious Writings of St. Clement”, in A History of the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ: From the Death of Saint John to the Middle of the Second Century: [], London: Longmans, Green, and Co., →OCLC, page 58:
          And afterwards Thou [God] receivedst Seth and Enoch, and Enoch Thou translatedst; for Thou art the Creator of men, the Fountain of Life, the Supplier of Want, the Giver of Laws, the Rewarder of them that keep them, the Avenger of them that transgress them.
      4. (transitive, mathematics) In Euclidean geometry: to transform (a geometric figure or space) by moving every point by the same distance in a given direction.
        • 1868, S[amuel] Edward Warren, “Removal of Practical Difficulties Arising from the Confusion of Projections and Perspectives”, in A Manual of Elementary Problems in the Linear Perspective of Form and Shadow; [], New York, N.Y.: John Wiley, [], →OCLC, § II (Second Method. Use of Three Planes.), paragraph 74, page 40:
          After translating this plane, parallel to the ground line, to the position  , these points appear at   and  .
      5. (transitive, mathematics) To map (the axes in a coordinate system) to parallel axes in another coordinate system some distance away.
        • 1957 April–June, Leo Marcus, “A Mathematical Tool in Industry: An Algorithm for Curve Fitting by the Method of Least Squares”, in John Bryant, editor, General Motors Engineering Journal, volume 4, number 2, Detroit, Mich.: Educational Relations Section, Public Relations Staff,General Motors Corporation, →OCLC, page 17, column 1:
          It is convenient at this point to translate the axis of the   dimensional space so that the origin of each axis occurs at its arithmetical mean.
      6. (transitive, medicine, obsolete) To cause (a disease or something giving rise to a disease) to move from one body part to another, or (rare) between persons.
      7. (transitive, physics) To subject (a body) to linear motion with no rotation.
        • 2004, Stephen Webb, “Symmetry”, in Out of this World: Colliding Universes, Branes, Strings, and Other Wild Ideas of Modern Physics, New York, N.Y.: Copernicus Books, Springer, in association with Praxis Publishing, →ISBN, page 19:
          Consider a collection of objects – perfectly elastic pool balls, perhaps – rattling around inside a closed, isolated container. We can translate the container and its contents through space, and the physics inside the container is unchanged.
      8. (intransitive, physics) Of a body: to be subjected to linear motion with no rotation.
        • 1987, Howard Brody, “The Sweet Spots of a Tennis Racket”, in Tennis Science for Tennis Players, Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, →ISBN, page 25:
          If the ball were to hit the racket at its center of mass (CM) or balance point (which is usually in the throat of the racket), the racket recoil would be pure translation and there would be no rotation of the racket. Instead, if the ball were to hit in the center of the strung area, the racket would both translate (to conserve linear momentum) and rotate (to conserve angular momentum), [...]
        • 2015, Ethirajan Rathakrishnan, “High-temperature Flows”, in High Enthalpy Gas Dynamics, Singapore: John Wiley & Sons Singapore, →ISBN, section 4.10 (Kinetic Theory of Gases), page 109:
          Let us assume the gas molecule to be a structureless "billiard ball," translating in space and frequently colliding with the neighboring molecules.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To entrance (place in a trance), to cause to lose recollection or sense.
    William was translated by the blow to the head he received, being unable to speak for the next few minutes.

Usage notes edit

  • Translation (sense 1.1) is often used loosely to describe any act of conversion from one language into another, although formal usage typically distinguishes interpretation as the proper term for conversion of speech.
  • While translation attempts to establish equivalent meaning between different texts, the conversion of text from one orthography to another (attempting to roughly establish equivalent sound) is distinguished as transliteration.
  • Literal, verbatim, or word-for-word translation (metaphrase) aims to capture as much of the exact expression as possible, while loose or free translation, or paraphrase, aims to capture the general sense or artistic affect of the original text. At a certain point, text which has been too freely translated may be considered an adaptation instead.

Conjugation edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

translate (plural translates)

  1. (mathematical analysis) In Euclidean spaces: a set of points obtained by adding a given fixed vector to each point of a given set.
    • 1999, A. S. Hedayat, N[eil] J[ames] A[lexander] Sloane, John Stufken, “Statistical Application of Orthogonal Arrays”, in Orthogonal Arrays: Theory and Applications (Springer Series in Statistics), New York, N.Y., Berlin: Springer, →ISBN, section 11.5 (Two-level Fractional Factorials with a Defining Relation), page 272:
      [F]ractions with a defining relation are nothing but linear orthogonal arrays or their translates.
    • 1999, H[elmut] H[einrich] Schaefer, with M. P. Wolff, chapter I, in Topological Vector Spaces (Graduate Texts in Mathematics; 3), 2nd edition, New York, N.Y., Berlin: Springer, →ISBN, section 4 (Linear Manifolds and Hyperplanes), page 24:
      If   is a vector space, a linear manifold (or affine subspace) in   is a subset which is a translate of a subspace  , that is, a set   of the form   for some  . [...] The dimension of a linear manifold is the dimension of the subspace of which it is a translate.

Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ translate, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2019; “translate, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit

French edit

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit


  1. inflection of translater:
    1. first/third-person singular present indicative/subjunctive
    2. second-person singular imperative

Latin edit

Participle edit


  1. vocative masculine singular of trānslātus

Middle English edit

Verb edit


  1. Alternative form of translaten