Translation genres and stylistic classification

Thus, the stylistic classification of translation genres (depending on the nature of the texts being translated) and the psycholinguistic classification (depending on the nature of the translator’s activities in the translation process). According to the first, translation stylistic classification, translations exist:

  1. Literary translation
  2. Informative translation

1. Literary translation

In the literary translation, neither omissions, nor additions, nor changes are allowed. If the work has flaws, they must be translated respectively. The purpose of such translations is to change, if possible, the source for those who cannot understand it due to lack of knowledge of the language, and to give them the means and opportunity to enjoy and estimate it.

literary translation

2. Informative translation

It is the translation of texts, the main purpose of which is to communicate information to the reader, and not to impact emotionally or aesthetically. This includes all information related to business, science, daily-living, and social and political activities. By the way, translation of detective stories, essays, travel notes and similar texts, which have informative rather than aesthetic impact, is also an informative translation.

This includes a translation of scientific and technical materials, journalistic, official and business, patent, political and feature materials, websites etc. It is understood that in practice many texts combine the characteristics of literary and informative texts, that is, there is often no clear division. Some fragments are informative, and some are literary.

The psycholinguistic classification of the translation takes into account the nature of the translator’s actions in the translation process, namely the way the source text is perceived and the way the target text is created, dividing the translation activity into:

  1. oral translation (interpreting);
  2. written translation.

3. Interpreting

The type of translation, which is performed in oral form, i.e. aurally. It is complicated by the fact that the interpreter has no right to make mistake (a word spoken is past recalling). Everything must be translated correctly for the first time. Here we single out two sub-types of translation: simultaneous interpreting and consecutive interpreting.


4. Written translation

It is performed in writing, i.e. it is recorded in the form of texts. This type of translation is convenient in that the translator can come back to separate fragments of the text, make corrections in the course of translation, rethink individual paragraphs, etc. A classic example of such translation: the translator receives the text and must provide the customer with the translation into the required language in writing.

Subtypes of written translation

Written translation is classified according to the subject of the text. Basically, the following translation subtypes are distinguished:

written legal translation

Types of oral translation named as interpreting:

5. Consecutive interpreting

The interpreter interprets the speaker’s speech during pauses, that is, the speaker speaks several sentences, becomes silent, and the interpreter interprets everything that has been said. The size of speech fragments to be interpreted may vary greatly: A speaker may speak for a couple of minutes or more than 20-30 minutes. In the latter case, the interpreter makes written notes helping him to recall the entire speech because such a large amount of information is difficult to keep in mind.

6. Simultaneous interpreting

It is performed by the interpreter almost simultaneously with the speaker (only 2-3 seconds slow). This type of translation is extremely complicated and requires special technical equipment: interpreter sit in separate booths, listening to the speaker through headphones while speaking into the microphone. At that, simultaneous interpreting is performed by at least two translators who substitute each other every 20-30 minutes.

Simultaneous interpreters are top professionals. Sometimes the simultaneous interpreters work without booths, sitting next to a receptor (i.e., for whom it is translated). As a rule, this occurs during small business meetings. In this case, such translation is called “whisper interpreting”, since the interpreter literally whispers the translation.


There are the following translation directions:

  1. Monolingual translation
  2. Bilingual translation

Examples of monolingual translation are oral and written translation performed in one direction only, from one language to any other language. An example of bilingual translation is an oral consecutive translation of the conversation performed from one language to another and vice versa. The criterion of human participation in the translation process determines the division of types of translation into:

  1. Machine translation
  2. Traditional translation, i.e translation performed by a human

7. Traditional translation

Can be performed by a translator who is not the author of the source text, can be performed by the author of the source text (author’s translation or automatic translation), can be performed by a translator and tested by the author of the source text (authorized translation). The following division of the types of translation occurs according to the completeness features, as well as the method of conveying the meaning and content of the original work.

There is a complete (continuous) and incomplete translation. The first one conveys the semantic content of the original text without omissions and shortages, the second one allows omissions and shortages.

Incomplete translation, in turn, is divided into short translation (communication of the semantic content of the original text in a cut form), fragmentary translation (translation of a fragment or fragments of the original text), aspect translation (translation of a part of the text in accordance with any given selection feature), annotation translation (main theme, subject and purpose of the text being translated) and abstract translation (translation, which contains relatively detailed information about the document being reviewed – its purpose, subject, research methods, the results obtained). 


8. Machine translation

It is an automatic translation from one natural language into another using computer programs. Machine translation can be classified according to several criteria: a degree of involvement of the human translator; type of translation – general or specialized; system architecture being used.

An independent (fully automated) machine translation means that the device translates texts without any involvement of operators. Translation with participation is usually divided into machine translation with human involvement and translation by the human using a computer. The automated translation becomes an increasingly popular form of translation performed by the human using the computer. Automated translation systems still only facilitate and can adequately decode and translate only simple syntactic and lexical constructions of the text.

The systems are still bad in the ambiguity, any and all allusions and omissions inherent to the majority of non-adapted texts. Existing vocabularies and termbases also cannot help them, since they describe only a modicum of the vocabulary of modern living languages. If you need to understand the approximate topic of a message in Japanese or some other language you do not know at all, then the on-line translation of pages visited on the Internet can really be of service. But offering these tools for professional use in translation activities without subsequent thorough improvement of the raw translation results is very irresponsibly.


Nevertheless, some translators manage to use similar machine blanks in order “not to type the text manually and not to search for the terms”, as they say. Of course, some machine programs and CAT tools (Computer-aided translation tools) became more clever. They can help and assist translators to make a bigger amount of the translated text, to keep the same translation terminology, to keep the same file format and many other features.

For us, such work as the “only machine technique” is just a waste of time and unjustified risk of the professional reputation built by long years of hard work.

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