Translation (in its main meaning of interlingual translation) is the fact of getting a text written in a language (“source language”) in a text written in another language (“target language”). It connects at least two languages and cultures, and sometimes two times.
Translation represents always an original text (or “original text”, or “source”). It involves a degree of equivalence, although the concept of strict equivalence between languages is now exceeded in translation. The concept of translation has long been based on dichotomies such as “loyalty” versus “freedom”, “fidelity à la lettre” versus “fidelity in the spirit,” “source-oriented translation” versus “target-oriented translation” etc.
So far, the translation remained an essentially human activity. However, attempts have been made to automate and computerize the translation (machine translation) or to use computers as a medium of human translation (computer-assisted translation).
The translation takes into account a number of constraints (context, grammar, etc.) to make it understandable for people with no knowledge of the source language and that do not have the same culture and the same baggage of knowledge. Translating involves controlling the source language, but also the target language, which is usually the mother tongue. A good translator has more than language skills: it has something of the writer, analyst or journalist, etc.. To translate the scientific and technical literature, it is sometimes needed to have also strong technical skills and master the technical jargon in both languages.
Translated and adapted from Wikipedia under GNU Free Documentation License.