In the broadest sense, translation means the transfer of meaningful content from one medium of expression to another, for the purpose of which translators, interpreters, a code of parallel symbols, special machines or computer programs are used. The most common meaning, however, is the translation of words and text from one language to another. In a still narrower sense, translation means written translation, while the term interpretation is used for oral translation.

Translations differ – a translator may try to retain as much of the formal structure of the original text as possible, or aim for a looser translation that seeks to maintain the “spirit” of the original.

The translated text is called a translation.

Written translation

Translation is an intellectually very demanding job that requires a lot of concentration and a lot of expertise from the translator. The translation process is preceded by an introduction to the subject matter and relevant literature. Written translation involves the translation of physical documents (in printed or electronic form). In both cases, the translator usually receives the material in electronic form and processes and edits it on her/his computer with or without the help of a translation tool (TRADOS, NEUROTRAN, etc.).

Conference interpretation

Conference interpreting involves simultaneous and consecutive interpretation.

Simultaneous interpretation is a complex process during which several different activities take place in parallel (listening – content analysis – anticipation of what has not yet been said – interpretation into the target language – speech). Simultaneous interpretation requires utmost focus from the interpreter, and an interpreter can interpret for a maximum of 30 to 40 minutes. Therefore, when it comes to interpreting from a foreign language, it is necessary to hire 2 simultaneous interpreters who alternate with each other for the duration of the interpretation.

Consecutive interpretation involves interpreting without the use of a device (technique) for simultaneous interpretation, that is, when the exhibitor completes the presentation in its entirety or after short paragraphs (for demanding topics). When interpreting longer passages, a special note technique is used to help the interpreters memorise. Since it requires more time, this interpretation technique is more appropriate for round tables, smaller working groups, etc.

Machine translation is a process in which a computer program analyses a text in one language (source text), and then produces a text with the same meaning in another language, without human involvement in the process. This is a process similar to human translation, when a person who knows both languages, source and target, translates the text. The disadvantage of human translation is that it takes a lot of time to translate a lot of texts, that is, a unit of translator / hours is used (two people will do the same amount of work in half the time). However, problems with machine translation arise when translating non-related complex grammar languages, for which the creation of appropriate programs is not a trivial problem. Therefore, even today, double-consecutive machine translations of Croatian-English-Croatian are usually the subject of derision. It just means that not enough time has been invested in designing the program, and that the programs need refinement, this is not an indication of the inability to produce a good machine translator.

The problems are usually:

Phrases (parts of a sentence or entire sentences that cannot be translated literally but must be included in the language database like any other word)
Multiple values ​​and their recognition

If there are well-defined grammars of both languages, then developing a translation program is as extensive a job as the grammars are complex, but it is always just a matter of time, not feasibility, i.e. the problem is solvable. Relatively good results are obtained when translating related (human) languages ​​of a relatively simple grammar (e.g. when translating from Danish to English and English to Danish). That is why today there are free online translators of not only individual words (online dictionaries) but also of entire texts for certain languages.