Styles of Translation

All translations seek to convey what was communicated in the source text, but the translation style will depend on factors such as:

Translations are often described with such terms as literal or idiomatic, formal or dynamic, etc. Literal translations, for example, seek to follow closely the lexical and grammatical forms of the source text, whereas idiomatic translations seek to express the meaning of the source text in the most natural and communicative way in the receptor language.

SIL trains translators and translation teams to evaluate factors such as those listed above, in close consultation with language communities and partner agencies. Accurate, natural, and communicative translation is always the goal, but the style may vary.