Transliteration is the process of converting a text from one alphabet to another, while translation is the process of converting a text from one language to another.

Transliteration

Transliteration is a direct representation of the sounds of the original language in the target script. This means that each character in the source text is represented by a character in the target script that makes the same or a similar sound. Transliteration is a more literal representation of the sounds of a word.

Translation

Translation, on the other hand, involves converting the meaning of the source text into the target language. This means that characters in the target script may not necessarily represent the sounds of the original language, but rather convey the meaning of what is being said.

An example for transliteration and translation

The English phrase “I love you” can be translated into Spanish as “Te quiero”. However, if we were to simply transliterate this phrase letter-for-letter into Spanish, it would become “Ei lofe you”. As you can see, while both phrases technically mean the same thing, they are not grammatically correct in Spanish. This highlights how translation changes the meaning of a text to better fit its new context, whereas transliteration only changes its form.

The differences between transliteration and translation

Transliteration is often used when a text needs to be converted from one script to another, but the meaning of the text does not need to be preserved. For example, if a text written in Cyrillic needs to be converted into Latin script, the transliteration process would focus on representing each Cyrillic letter with its equivalent Latin letter. The meaning of the text would not be preserved during this process.

Translation, on the other hand, is focused on preserving the meaning of a text when converting it from one language to another. In order to do this, a translator needs to have a deep understanding of both languages involved in the translation process. They will also need to take into account cultural differences between the two languages in order to ensure that the translated text conveys the same message as the original.

When to use transliteration and when to use translation

Transliteration is typically used when the target audience is familiar with the original alphabet but not the pronunciation of the foreign words. Translation, on the other hand, is the process of conveying the meaning of a word or phrase from one language to another. This method is generally used when the target audience is not familiar with the original alphabet or language.

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