When people talk about translation they usually have in mind text written in one language interpreted to another language. This is probably the only point translators agree on.
When trying to add detail to this definition, it seems everyone starts talking about a different phenomenon, or at least about phenomena that differ a lot from one another.
The reason for this is that there are different types of translation, just as there are different types of language within one national language. Translations can be categorized by two significant criteria – language specific and translation specific.
Included under language specific are texts that originate from and are translated into a special language register, corresponding to a particular sector of society or a sphere of public activity. Examples include types of legal and administrative texts, financial and accounting texts, technical and technology texts, science and humanities texts, medical texts, sports and arts texts, media texts, narrative texts – fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and in recent times even special types of texts for the Internet. These texts make use of special professional registers in the language that contain terms and are able to present the particular context through a specific terminology.
General knowledge of the source and target languages is not enough to perform these types of translation. Specialized vocabulary and knowledge are required, together with extensive reading in the domain, and even better, training in the specific field.
The second type, translation specific, refers to the way the source text is rendered in the target language, irrespective of the text registers discussed above.
The types noted above may have started historically with manuscripts and later with printed texts. Only 30 years ago, the main labor tool of a translator was the typewriter, if we leave aside the brain of course. Nowadays all text is processed on computers, translations included.
The differentiation of this group begins with the question of how this processing is done. Obviously, the traditional typewriter type comes to mind first, in which a computer is used virtually as a typewriter, with the respective peripherals.
Next we may mention a special type of translation for movies and TV, more commonly known as subtitling. It's a complex process to translate the original language and adjust it to subtitles, and many countries use dubbing instead.
An even more extensive and intensive use of computers and IT technologies in translation brought about the so-called Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools. These are applications that are based on word processing programs that make the work of the human translator more efficient.
A further development in this direction is the machine translation, where the achievements of artificial intelligence research have been used to create fully automated translation software. It is used primarily to understand text in another language and not for professional translation. If a professional translation is needed, it is best to contact a leading provider of translation services.