trans·late | \ tran(t)s-ˈlāt , tranz- ; ˈtran(t)s-ˌlāt , ˈtranz- \
translated; translating

Definition of translate 

transitive verb

1a : to turn into one's own or another language

b : to transfer or turn from one set of symbols into another : transcribe

c(1) : to express in different terms and especially different words : paraphrase

(2) : to express in more comprehensible terms : explain, interpret

2a : to bear, remove, or change from one place, state, form, or appearance to another : transfer, transform translate ideas into action

b : to convey to heaven or to a nontemporal condition without death

c : to transfer (a bishop) from one see to another

3 : enrapture

4 : to subject to mathematical translation

5 : to subject (genetic information) to translation in protein synthesis

intransitive verb

1 : to practice translation or make a translation also : to admit of or be adaptable to translation a word that doesn't translate easily

2 : to undergo a translation

3 : lead, result usually used with into believes that tax cuts will translate into economic growth

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Other words from translate

translatability \(ˌ)tran(t)s-ˌlā-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē, (ˌ)tranz- \ noun
translatable \tran(t)s-ˈlā-tə-bəl, tranz- \ adjective
translator \ˈtran(t)s-ˌlā-tər, ˈtranz-; tran(t)s-ˈlā-tər, tranz- \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for translate


paraphrase, rephrase, restate, reword



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Examples of translate in a Sentence

My client speaks only Spanish. Will you translate for me? The French word “bonjour” translates as “hello” in English. We need someone who can translate Japanese into English. We have translated the report. The book has been translated into 37 languages. Can you translate this technical jargon? Seventy million Americans—that translates into one American out of every four—are under the age of 24.
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Recent Examples on the Web

If trade tensions continue to escalate, the higher prices of steel and lumber will eventually translate to higher rents for apartments and offices, experts say. Adam Vaccaro,, "Tariffs are making it more expensive to build in Boston — and that could push rents even higher," 12 July 2018 Over a 10-year loan, the fee would translate into an extra 1 percentage point on the rate, Kantrowitz said. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Students aren't the only ones crushed by school debt," 11 July 2018 But the initial assessment from the scout on Jones was of a player with emerging skills that will translate beyond summer league. Ira Winderman,, "For Heat's Derrick Jones a case of 'the Miami system working its magic'," 6 July 2018 While this will not necessarily translate to a change in votes in a future election, the more public discourse focuses on the importance of honesty, the more politicians across the political spectrum will likely be sanctioned for violating it. Jared Mcdonald, Candace Turitto, Vox, "Honesty first: how to make politicians pay for lying," 2 July 2018 Whether congressional tut-tutting will translate to legislation is another matter. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "“Even Ted Cruz Thinks This Is a Bridge Too Far”: Texas Republicans Fear Child Detention Will Be Midterm Poison," 20 June 2018 With these increased patrols through the end of this year, during summer school, and probably into next school year, Herman said this initiative translates to thousands of extra campus checks for ISD’s across Pct. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "‘See something, say something’ emphasized as Lake Houston area ISDs examine safety measures post-Santa Fe," 22 May 2018 Robots, too, will communicate with each other and will translate this hypothetical world, this wild world, of metaphorical models. Kevin Hartnett, The Atlantic, "How a Pioneer of Machine Learning Became One of Its Sharpest Critics," 19 May 2018 This will deliver greater success for women, which will translate into an aggregate growth and strengthening of our industries. Melissa Burstein, STAT, "More female leaders will help drive innovation in the medtech and biotech industries," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'translate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of translate

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for translate

Middle English, from Anglo-French translater, from Latin translatus (past participle of transferre to transfer, translate), from trans- + latus, past participle of ferre to carry — more at tolerate, bear

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Phrases Related to translate

translate into

Statistics for translate

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for translate

The first known use of translate was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for translate



English Language Learners Definition of translate

: to change words from one language into another language

: to explain (something) in a way that is easier to understand

: to have the same meaning


trans·late | \ trans-ˈlāt \
translated; translating

Kids Definition of translate

1 : to turn from one language into another

2 : to change from one form to another Let's translate words into action.

Other words from translate

translator \-ˈlā-tər \ noun


transitive verb
trans·late | \ tran(t)s-ˈlāt, tranz- \
translated; translating

Medical Definition of translate 

: to subject (as genetic information) to translation in protein synthesis

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Comments on translate

What made you want to look up translate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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