Depending on the way we approach translation and the methods we use, we can divide it in several categories. Today translation is a highly-developed practice and there are plenty of perspectives and classifications, systemizing the various approaches to it. However, the most popular and frequent methods are the following:
- Interpretative and communicative translation
This method deals with understanding and re-creating the original text, without inflicting any radical changes; usually this applies to simultaneous and consecutive translation. It keeps the purpose of the original and achieves the desired effect. The function and the genre also remain unchanged, stylistic changes are not to be tolerated.
- Word-for-word translation
This one is quite similar to the first method. It is characterized by specific reproduction of linguistic elements from the source text; word-for-word translation. No stylistic or linguistic changes should be made. Morphology and syntax and/or the meaning of the original should be strictly adhered to. The function of the translation is subject to some change, as change is not the priority here, but reproducing the linguistic system or the formatting of the source text.
- Free translation
The purpose of free translation is to keep the source language function, even if general meaning suffers from it. Content must remain unchanged. Certain changes to categories like social and cultural environment, genre or communicative dimension (tonality, dialect) are okay. These changes vary according to the target audience (e.g. if the text is aimed at children), new designation (stage adaptation), change of context or personal choice. This method is the easiest to apply but it doesn’t apply for any type of text; before approaching translation “freely”, we must take into account the listed categories subject to change.
- Philological translation
When applying this method, the translator can add notes of philological and historical nature to the translation, with the purpose of not only understanding specific terms and words properly, but also for adding clarifications of familiar meanings; in this case, the source text often becomes subject of examination and the translation aimed at specialized audiences or students.
Also, the so called translation strategy plays a key role in the whole process. There are several strategies, which represent a separate methodology, approaches and take part in the overall translation. The translation strategy all depends on the translator and his or her personal approach to the process. There are also certain translation techniques, i.e. the specific verbal procedures, recognizable in the end result; they achieve transition and affect smaller units of text.
While the method of translation is strictly specific, the strategy and the techniques we are using are individual and object of preference by the translator. They are not bound to each other, e.g. when using the free translation method, we could use different translation strategies and techniques. Of course, as long as it keeps the end result intact.