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

But if Trump’s administration translates that race-baiting rhetoric into violence on the border, the administration will have a crossed a new line, one that could open them to a fight in the courts. Tara Golshan, Vox, "What Trump’s “lethal force” authorization means at the border," 27 Nov. 2018 There is also mounting anxiety about whether efforts to mobilize Latino voters will translate into votes, particularly in several key races in heavily Latino districts. Juana Summers, The Seattle Times, "Democrats’ not-so-secret plan to fight midterm malaise," 16 Oct. 2018 In a post-street-style world, being overdressed is no longer considered a faux-pas—whether that translates to formal pajamas for brunch, daytime tulle, or yes, bedazzled stilettos with jeans just because. Ana Colon, Glamour, "25 Pretty Heels to Wear Beyond Special Occasions," 30 Aug. 2018 The Navajo words, when translated into English, would spell out one of the 26 letters in the alphabet. Shondiin Silversmith, azcentral, "Navajo Code Talkers created an unbreakable code. It helped win World War II," 11 July 2018 But the more widespread idea that these geographical differences are really important to understanding the economy doesn’t necessarily translate to a coherent set of policies. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "One County Thrives. The Next One Over Struggles. Economists Take Note.," 29 June 2018 Later, the performers elicited daubs of tone from conventional instruments, as if translating those found objects into spectral music. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Fury of the Ojai Music Festival," 24 June 2018 Whether that translates to a few more fan votes in the All-Star balloting for J.T. Realmuto is anyone's guess, though. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Realmuto powers Marlins to win over Rockies with grand slam," 23 June 2018 Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison discusses whether or not her judo skills could translate to a career in MMA. Dave Clark,, "Olympic gold medalist in judo Kayla Harrison of Middletown wins MMA debut," 22 June 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

11 Dec 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).


to enclose within walls

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