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[Lat.,=carrying across], the rendering of a text into another language. Applied to literature, the term connotes the art of recomposing a work in another language without losing its original flavor, or of finding an analogous substitute, for example, Scott Moncrieff's Remembrance of Things Past for Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, which, translated literally, means "Looking for Lost Time." Translations of the most ancient texts extant into modern languages are called decipherments. Two well-known examples are the decoding of the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone (see under RosettaRosetta
, former name of Rashid
, city (1986 pop. 51,789), N Egypt, in the Nile River delta. The city once dominated the region's rice market; rice milling and fish processing are the main industries of modern Rashid. Founded in the 9th cent.
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) by Jean François Champollion and the decoding of the Persian cuneiform inscriptions on the rock of Behistun by Henry Rawlinson. Translating sacred texts has always been the chief means by which a culture transmits its values to posterity. Important translations of the Bible began with the Vulgate (Hebrew and Greek into Latin) of St. JeromeJerome, Saint
, c.347–420?, Christian scholar, Father of the Church, Doctor of the Church. He was born in Stridon on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia of Christian parents (although he was not baptized until 366); his Roman name was Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus.
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 in the 4th cent. A.D. English translations of the Bible include that of John WyclifWyclif, Wycliffe, Wickliffe, or Wiclif, John
, c.1328–1384, English religious reformer. A Yorkshireman by birth, Wyclif studied and taught theology and philosophy at Oxford.
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 in the 14th cent. (from Latin), William Tyndale's in the 16th cent. (from Hebrew and Greek), and the great Authorized Version of 1611, the King James Version, which has been called the most influential work of translation in any language.

The Renaissance was a golden age of translations, especially into English. Renewed interest in the Latin classics created a demand for renderings of Ovid's Metamorphoses (tr. by Arthur GoldingGolding, Arthur,
c.1536–c.1605, English translator. He translated many Latin classics, including Caesar's Gallic War and Ovid's Metamorphoses. A Calvinist, Golding tried to infuse the Metamorphoses with a stern moral tone. He also translated noted French works.
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, 1565–67), Vergil's Aeneid (tr. by Gawin DouglasDouglas, Gawin or Gavin
, 1474?–1522, Scottish poet and churchman; son of Archibald Douglas, 5th earl of Angus. He is considered one of the great medieval Scottish poets. Douglas was Bishop of Dunkeld.
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, 1513; Henry Howard, earl of SurreySurrey, Henry Howard, earl of,
1517?–1547, English poet; son of Thomas Howard, 3d duke of Norfolk. His irascibility and continuous vaunting of his descent from Edward I resulted in his imprisonment on several occasions.
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, c.1540; and Richard Stanyhurst, 1582), and Plutarch's Lives (tr. by Sir Thomas North, 1579). The flavor of these renderings is indicated in the opening lines of Stanyhurst's Aeneid: "Now manhood and garbroyles [battles] I chaunt, and martial horror." In addition there were translations of important contemporary works into English: Castiglione's Courtier (tr. by Sir Thomas Hoby, 1561), Montaigne's Essais (tr. by John FlorioFlorio, John
, 1553?–1625, English author, b. London of Italian parentage. Educated at Oxford, Florio served in various capacities at the court of James I. He is chiefly remembered for his free translation (1603) of the essays of Montaigne.
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, 1603), and Cervantes's Don Quixote (tr. by John Shelton, 1612). Notable translations of the 19th and 20th cent. include Baudelaire's translations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Scott Moncrieff's translation of Proust, and Eustache Morel's translation of James Joyce. American authors whose works have been widely translated include Mark Twain, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Pearl Buck, Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind ), and Upton Sinclair.


See E. Grossman, Why Translation Matters (2010); E. Allen and S. Bernofsky, ed., In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means (2013).


The movement of a point in space without rotation.


the transformation of SIGNS and meanings, (especially languages), where these are initially unknown or alien, into a known and familiar set of signs and meanings. The question of the extent to which the ideas and language of one society or culture can have an adequate expression in the language of another society or culture has been an especially important one in SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY (e.g. see SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS). Issues also arise in sociology, especially where it is assumed that its subject matter is SEMIOTIC and meaningful, i.e. made up of SIGNS, so that an unknown society or set of social interactions is like an unknown language and the main task is one of translation. Quine (1960) has argued that any translation is in principle ‘indeterminate’, that any set of signs can equally well be translated by an indefinite list of alternative possibilities. Davidson (1984) suggests that this leaves no alternative other than a ‘principle of charity’, which assumes that others and their signs will resemble us and our own signs. However, the effect of questions raised about the indeterminacy of translation is to puncture any simple assumptions about ready translation or objectivity in social science. See also RELATIVISM, INCOMMENSURABILITY, FORMS OF LIFE, WITTGENSTEIN.



a transformation of space or a part of space —for example, a passage from one figure to another—wherein all the points are shifted the same distance in the same direction. The set of all translations both in the plane and in space forms a group.

In Euclidean geometry this group is a subgroup of the group of motions; in affine geometry it is a subgroup of the group of affine transformations.



in biology, the biosynthesis of polypeptide chains of proteins in living cells. It consists in the deciphering of the genetic information coded in the form of the sequence of nucleotides in molecules of messenger (matrix) ribonucleic acids (iRNA or mRNA). The nucleotide sequence of iRNA determines the sequence of amino acids in the synthesized proteins.

Translation is achieved by means of intracellular particles called ribosomes, which are bonded with iRNA and activated amino-acid derivatives (aa-tRNAs) of transfer RNAs. The aa-tRNAs “recognize” certain nucleotide trios (codons) in the iRNAs that correspond to the amino acids bonded to these codons. Recognition occurs owing to the complementary interaction of the codon of iRNA with an anticodon (a trio of nucleotides that is complementary to the codon) of tRNA.

The polypeptide chain of the protein is synthesized in the peptidyl-transferase center of the ribosome, which is divided into peptidyl and amino-acid areas. The peptidyl area serves to bond tRNA, to which the growing polypeptide (peptidyl-tRNA) is attached; the amino-acid area serves to bond aa-tRNA. The pep-tide bond that unites amino-acid radicals in proteins is formed owing to the reaction of the terminal carboxyl group (—COOH) of the peptide in peptidyl-tRNA, with the amino group (—NH2) of the amino acid in aa-tRN A2.

After the peptide bond is formed, the peptide chain becomes bonded with tRNA2, which is located in the amino-acid area. Subsequently, peptidyl-tRNA2 moves to the peptidyl area and expels the free tRNA1. At the same time, the iRNA shifts by one codon in relation to the ribosome. Then a new aa-tRNA is bonded to the amino-acid area of the ribosome, and so on. During translation the ribosome moves along the chain of iRNA; this movement is accompanied by the sequential assembly of amino acids into a polypeptide, beginning at the amino end of the chain (the N terminus) and concluding at the carboxyl end (C terminus). This stage of translation, called elongation, differs in mechanism from the initiation and termination of translation, the signals for which are the bondings of corresponding codons of iRNA with the ribosome.

All stages of translation are catalyzed by specific protein factors and guanosine triphosphate (GTP). The role of these catalyzers in the translation process may be assumed not only by cellular and RNA protein factors but by viral RNAs and synthetic polynucleotides. This is widely taken into account in studying the biosynthesis of protein in acellular systems.


Spirin, A. S., and L. P. Gavrilova. Ribosoma, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Molekuliarnye osnovy biosinteza belkov. Moscow, 1971.
Lehninger, A. Biokhimiia. Moscow, 1974. Chapter 30. (Translated from English.)




the displacement of a physical or mathematical object parallel to itself in space over some distance a along a straight line called the axis of translation. A translation is completely characterized by the vector a.

If a translation carries an object into itself, the translation is a symmetry operation. Such translations are inherent in objects that are periodic in one, two, or three dimensions. Examples of such objects are ornamental borders, wallpaper, and, on a microscopic scale, crystals and chain molecules of polymers.

The theory of translational symmetry plays an important role in crystallography and solid-state physics. For example, the theory makes it possible to study the properties of wave functions of electrons in crystals and to establish the space groups of crystal symmetry. In order to describe the properties of crystals, it is convenient to choose three translations along the edges of the unit cell as unit vectors (seeSYMMETRY OF CRYSTALS).

The concept of translation is applicable to multidimensional coordinate spaces and to other kinds of spaces, such as quasi-momentum space (seeSOLID) and phase space.



A function changing the coordinates of a point in a euclidean space into new coordinates relative to axes parallel to the original.
A function on a group to itself given by operating on each element by some one fixed element.
Let E be a finitely generated extension of a field k, F be an extension of k, and both E and F be contained in a common field; the translation of E to F is the extension EF of F, where EF is the compositum of E and F. Also known as lifting.
The linear movement of a point in space without any rotation.
(cell and molecular biology)
The process by which the linear sequence of nucleotides in a molecule of messenger ribonucleic acid directs the specific linear sequence of amino acids, as during protein synthesis.


A linear displacement; in kinematics, a motion of a body such that a set of rectangular axes, fixed in the body, remains parallel to a set of axes fixed in space.


Maths a transformation in which the origin of a coordinate system is moved to another position so that each axis retains the same direction or, equivalently, a figure or curve is moved so that it retains the same orientation to the axes
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