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

Even elections that delivered more decisive victories to one party or the other were not automatically translated into clear stories. Julia Azari, Vox, "Narratives are simple. Elections are complicated.," 8 Nov. 2018 That was all before A Manual for Cleaning Women hit the New York Times best sellers list, and before it was translated into dozens of languages, selling hundreds of thousands of times all around the world. Bridget Read, Vogue, "How Lucia Berlin Became A Literary Superstar 11 Years After Her Death (And Is About to Publish A New Collection)," 5 Nov. 2018 The stories will be translated into Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Norwegian. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Snapchat will debut a longform sci-fi thriller story told in a series of texts," 26 Oct. 2018 And it’ll be translated into 50 languages on day one. Eric Johnson, Recode, "The tech industry needs to reckon with the dark side of advertising, WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg says," 2 Aug. 2018 The implications of this work to medicine could be huge, if the findings can be translated into pills that safely and effectively administer insulin and other peptide drugs to humans. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "These insulin pills could replace daily injections for diabetics, study says," 28 June 2018 An interpreter translates, telling in English the Armenian stories like a libretto for an opera, so the audience will understand. Allison Keyes, Smithsonian, "Illuminating the Shadowy Art of Armenian Puppet Theater," 13 July 2018 High fuel costs are translating into higher air fares for Delta Air Lines and other U.S. carriers. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Delta to trim growth plans for flights this fall," 13 July 2018 Having those live sounds on the album translates directly to Rhye’s concerts, which are done sans laptops and backing tracks. Robert Spuhler,, "Rhye reemerges with new energy, set to perform in SF," 12 July 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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Statistics for translate

Last Updated

13 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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