English to Spanish Raleigh discusses what a literal translation is, and why most times it’s not recommended in translating services.

A literal translation is a translation that keeps the original content without changing structure, form or style.

For example, ”Te estoy tomando el pelo.” is a common Spanish idiom.

The literal English translation: “I’m taking your hair.”

Done word-for-word, the literal translation doesn’t actually convey the same meaning to English-speakers. A transcreation translation would make the Spanish idiom more understandable to an English-speaking audience, however. The translator would choose the equivalent English idiom, ”I’m just pulling your leg.”

Usually, a professional Spanish translator would recommend a transcreation translation over-literal, since the intent is to make the translation not only well-written but culturally relevant to its target language, as well.

Even so, there are some cases where a literal translation may be needed. A legal court document is a good example. A literal translation would be needed in order to avoid any contention that the translation left out any important information on purpose.

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Elsa Jimenez is a native Spanish speaker who was born and raised in a Hispanic country. She is an accomplished lawyer and translator who has been living and working in the U.S. for many years and is also a member of the American Translators Association.

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