In general terms, translation is a direct process of matching linguistic correspondences between two different languages. However, translating correctly and well means mastering many translation techniques.
Thus, to clarify the process of translation, we can mention some of these translation techniques. There is direct translation, which uses loan words, loan translation or word-for-word translation. Each of these linguistic processes can be used successfully to avoid confusions, uncertainties or funny situations. Loan words are words taken from other languages and used in the same form and with the same meaning due to a lack of adequate correspondence (taxi, pizza, hamburger, funky etc.). Loan translation means an expression translated word-for-word from another language, e.g.: buricul pământului (meaning to be the cat’s whiskers) from the Italian l’ombelico del mondo or aseguramiento de calidad in Spanish, taken from the English term quality assurance and others. Literal translation, or word-for-word translation, is useful if all grammar conditions are met: word order, semantics or syntax.
When linguistic structures or concepts from the source language cannot be translated without altering their meaning or grammatical role, indirect translation techniques are used. These are: transposition, rephrasing, adaptation, compensation or modification.
All these techniques are daily processes for a translator. Transposition is actually reversing the word order of parts of speech (from English blue ball into French boule bleue). Modification or replacement is, basically, substituting an expression, group of words or sentence from a language by another one which corresponds in meaning, but not in shape or grammatical role. Rephrasing is expressing something in a different manner. Adaptation does the same thing, but it takes into account the culture and the traditions of different peoples: pincho from Spanish would be kebab in English. Compensation refers to the translation of different shades of meaning in different languages, i.e. the translator derives different forms and shades of meaning: từ and usted in Spanish means tu and dumneata (Romanian) or tu and vous (French), du and Sie (German), but in English we have the same word: you.
Thus, the translator must be a master of these techniques and use the right technique for different translation situations.