6 Common Types of Translation: Which One Is The toughest type?

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Written by: Maryam Osama


Translation is an interesting but challenging task to take on. Simply knowing the languages is not enough, especially with specialized documents that require expertise in that subject. 


Each type of document is challenging in its own way. Some require extreme accuracy in wording, while others require high levels of creativity. 

In this article, we will explore the common types of translation and the challenges translators face while translating each type.

6 common types of translation: which one is the toughest

1. Legal Translation

Legal Translation is the translation of legal text from one language to another, respecting the original meaning.

Legal Texts Include

  • Court and Witness transcripts 
  • Depositions 
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Wills and trusts 
  • Complaints/ Policies
  • Legal Statements/disclaimers 
  • Licenses 
  • Arbitration translation 
  • Marriage/Birth certificates
  • Contract
  • Litigation and Divorce papers

Why They Need To Be Translated?

There are a couple of reasons why we need legal translations like: 

    • Moving abroad for work or studies.
    • Simply understanding any legal contract used in international business transactions or legal proceedings.
    • Moving your business to any foreign country, etc.

Who Can Be Legal Translators

The rulings vary from country to country. Some countries require legal translators to have a professional degree in law and business. Others prefer translators who speak foreign languages. Professional certifications in law are also encouraged. In some parts of the world, legal translators take an oath before working as a professional. 

Challenges/Difficulties Legal Translations Face

  • Lack of similar vocabulary across languages and cultures. 
  • Cultural differences can be a great challenge if the translator doesn’t have good knowledge of both cultures.
  • The literal translation of unique cultural word combinations (like limited divorce, crime index, verbal judo, etc) requires the translator’s strong command of any target culture. 
  • When it comes to institution names, it might be challenging to discover a foreign language counterpart in readily available sources such as dictionaries and glossaries.

2. Marketing Translation

Marketing translation is translating some or all of your marketing content to attract your target audience. Any company whose products are sold in different countries needs marketing translation services to reach out to people who speak different languages.

Marketing Translation Is Required For

  • Social media posts.
  • Video scripts.
  • Product descriptions/packaging.
  • Broadcast material advertisement.
  • Print advertisements.

Who Can Be Marketing Translators?

  • One who has a bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in languages.
  • A competent translator with an in-depth understanding of target cultures.
  • One must be a good copy or/and content writer and has extensive knowledge about different writing styles for proper adaptation of the style and language to fit the local culture.

Challenges/Difficulties Marketing Translators Face

One of the major challenges any marketing translators face is the continuous fear of producing a negative impression which results in a brand’s poor image. 

Remember? When Ford started a campaign in Belgium with the phrase “every car has a high-quality body” to emphasize the car’s spaciousness. When translated, they discovered that the tagline meant “every car has a high-quality corpse,” causing customers to run away from the brand rather than towards it.

6 common types of translation: which one is the toughest

3. Engineering Translation

It is the translation of engineering documents and manuals from one language to another.

Engineering Translation Is Required For

  • Safety manuals
  • Engineering specifications
  • Field studies
  • Technical reports
  • Warning labels
  • Schematics
  • Technical patents
  • AutoCAD
  • Blueprints and technical drawings
  • Business proposals
  • Equipment operating manuals

Who Can Be Engineering Translators?

  • A detail-oriented individual having a background in Engineering. 
  • The one has an engineering and translation degree.

Challenges/Difficulties Engineering Translators Face

The biggest challenge in engineering translation is understanding complicated documents that have technical text as well as graphs, figures, numbers, and calculations.

6 common types of translation: which one is the toughest

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4. Finance Translation

Translating financial papers and data from one language to another is known as financial translation.

Finance Translation Is Required For

  • Regulations and directives
  • Trademarks
  • Court reports
  • Litigation documents
  • Articles of association
  • Tenders
  • Terms and conditions
  • Disclaimers
  • Accident reports
  • Contracts and agreements (such as shareholder agreements,
  • Confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements)

Who Can Be Finance Translators?

  • The one who has a deep understanding of financial concepts and terminology.
  • Has the ability to translate documents into multiple languages.
  • Who understands the formatting requirements for different types of financial documents.

Challenges/Difficulties Finance Translators Face

  • One of the main challenges in financial translation is ensuring and maintaining accuracy.
  • Keeping up with changes in the industry is another challenge.

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5. Medical Translation

It is the branch of translation that involves translating documents related to the healthcare industry. 

Medical Translation Is Required For

  • Medical records
  • Medical supplies
  • Reports for insurance
  • Medical reports
  • Medical records
  • Medical files
  • Clinical tests
  • Scientific publications
  • Scientific research
  • Academic papers

Who Can Be Medical Translators?

  • An expert in linguistic skills or a bilingual.
  • A majoring in medical fields and have medical knowledge.
  • An empath toward other people. 

Challenges/Difficulties Medical Translators Face

The fact that medical vocabularies vary from country to country presents a significant challenge to medical translation. And having a command of an updated vocabulary is certainly a difficulty.

6 common types of translation: which one is the toughest

6. Tourism Translation

It is the translation of any kind of text that helps tourists to plan their vacations and make decisions accordingly.

Tourism Translation Is Required For

  • Travel guides
  • Websites
  • Maps
  • Menus
  • Brochures 
  • Audio guides


Who Can Be Tourism Translators?

Those who are able to convey the original tone and mood while inspiring the reader to take the holiday. 

Challenges/Difficulties Tourism Translators Face

  • The major obstacle facing tourism translation is the language barrier.
  • Another common challenge tourism translation and the industry at the large face is adapting everything about the target culture. This means that for most people tourism is a way to have fun, and its messages reflect that. Airports, hotels, airlines, and travel agencies: all of them have to try to talk the way the client talks and use messages that are appealing and easy to understand, so that the customer feels like they can relate.
6 common types of translation: which one is the toughest

Which Is The Toughest Translation Type?

Legal translation so far is the toughest translation type of all as each legal language is highly specialized and has its own distinctive style, which is influenced by the legal traditions and culture of the relevant nation. And it can’t be easily translated into another language. 


The translation is an interesting and difficult task. It’s not enough to just know the languages, especially when it comes to specialized documents that require knowledge in that subject. 

The difficulties of working with various documents vary widely. Some call for a laser-like focus on word choice while others demand originality of thought.

Since each legal language is so specialized and has its own specific style, shaped by the legal traditions and culture of the relevant nation, legal translation has proven to be the most difficult sort of translation to date. Further, it is not readily translatable to any other language.

Feel free to share in the comment section your tips for translation. Also, share which one of these is the most difficult for you.  We welcome your opinions and thoughts. 

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