trans·​late | \ tran(t)s-ˈlāt How to pronounce translate (audio) , 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 How to pronounce translate (audio) , (ˌ)tranz-​ \ noun
The translatability of other native two-dimensional designs into the commercial medium of silk screens, however, may not be so clearcut. — Margaret B. Blackman et al.
translatable \ tran(t)s-​ˈlā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce translate (audio) , tranz-​ \ adjective
The word is of Derrida's own coinage and is deliberately ambiguous (and therefore not translatable), being derived from the French … — Ann Jefferson … but the resultant information is spotty and not readily translatable into an average national trend. — Barry Commoner
translator \ ˈtran(t)s-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce translate (audio) , ˈtranz-​ ; tran(t)s-​ˈlā-​tər , tranz-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for translate



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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 Shows good effort in the trenches and can translate his speed into power. USA TODAY, "2021 NFL draft tight end rankings: Florida's Kyle Pitts looks like top TE on the board," 28 Apr. 2021 Going forward, business leaders should be more mindful of how household disparities can translate into stress and inequality in the workplace. Naz Beheshti, Forbes, "No One Is Immune To Stress—But These 3 Groups Of People Have Been Hit Hardest During The Pandemic," 28 Apr. 2021 Setting this 40% number—along with workforce training and lending terms that expand the pool of DBEs that can compete for contracts—would better ensure targets actually translate to direct community investment. Daniel Armanios, Fortune, "3 things Biden can do to enforce more equitable infrastructure," 25 Apr. 2021 But how often do those initial results translate into longer, healthier lives for patients? Matthew Perrone, Star Tribune, "FDA to scrutinize unproven cancer drugs after 10-year gap," 25 Apr. 2021 The Wildcats won their fourth consecutive SEC title this year, but with the league’s reputation falling short of its powerhouse status in almost every other sport, there were questions about how that success would translate to the national level. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Historic national championship shows 'what Kentucky volleyball stands for'," 25 Apr. 2021 Sophomore Alyssa Thoren is a volleyball player whose skills translate beautifully to the tennis court. oregonlive, "Oregon high school spring season preview: Highlighting standout tennis players," 16 Apr. 2021 While Onyenwere’s skills are still developing, her strength and explosiveness are not in question, and her tenacity on the glass (13.3 percent total rebounding rate or better in each of her four collegiate seasons) will translate immediately. Dallas News, "2021 WNBA mock draft roundup: See who experts have the Dallas Wings selecting with multiple first-round picks," 13 Apr. 2021 The technology will learn as adjusters translate those scripts into estimate line-items, says Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz, Nexar’s cofounder and chief technology officer. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "AI Comes to Car Repair, and Body Shop Owners Aren’t Happy," 13 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for translate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for translate

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Translate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce translate (audio) \
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- How to pronounce translate (audio) \
translated; translating

Medical Definition of translate

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

Comments on translate

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