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[trans-leyt, tranz-, trans-leyt, tranz-] /trænsˈleɪt, trænz-, ˈtræns leɪt, ˈtrænz-/
verb (used with object), translated, translating.
to turn from one language into another or from a foreign language into one's own:
to translate Spanish.
to change the form, condition, nature, etc., of; transform; convert:
to translate wishes into deeds.
to explain in terms that can be more easily understood; interpret.
to bear, carry, or move from one place, position, etc., to another; transfer.
Mechanics. to cause (a body) to move without rotation or angular displacement; subject to translation.
Computers. to convert (a program, data, code, etc.) from one form to another:
to translate a FORTRAN program into assembly language.
Telegraphy. to retransmit or forward (a message), as by a relay.
  1. to move (a bishop) from one see to another.
  2. to move (a see) from one place to another.
  3. to move (relics) from one place to another.
to convey or remove to heaven without natural death.
Mathematics. to perform a translation on (a set, function, etc.).
to express the value of (a currency) in a foreign currency by applying the exchange rate.
to exalt in spiritual or emotional ecstasy; enrapture.
verb (used without object), translated, translating.
to provide or make a translation; act as translator.
to admit of translation:
The Greek expression does not translate easily into English.
Origin of translate
1250-1300; Middle English translaten < Latin trānslātus (past participle of trānsferre to transfer), equivalent to trāns- trans- + -lātus (suppletive past participle of ferre to bear1), earlier *tlātus, equivalent to *tlā- bear (akin to thole2) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
translatable, adjective
translatability, translatableness, noun
half-translated, adjective
intertranslatable, adjective
pretranslate, verb (used with object), pretranslated, pretranslating.
retranslate, verb (used with object), retranslated, retranslating.
untranslatability, noun
untranslatable, adjective
untranslated, adjective
well-translated, adjective
Can be confused
translate, transliterate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for translatable
Historical Examples
  • But not translatable into any other form of energy because not derivable from any other form.

    The Breath of Life John Burroughs
  • The sounds of indignation and ferocity that followed this statement are not translatable.

    The Buffalo Runners R.M. Ballantyne
  • Indeed, most of what we recognise as Irish humour is not translatable into written language.

    The Land's End W. H. Hudson
  • The German's impulse is translatable in the words "Be organized."

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • Each thing suggests the thought imperfectly, and thought is translatable only by thought.

    Tablets Amos Bronson Alcott
  • But his expression was translatable into "what do you take me for?"

  • Girls come to themselves sooner; are indeed, from the first, more definite and "translatable."

    Birds and Poets John Burroughs
  • The tonal language is one that is not translatable into words.

    For Every Music Lover Aubertine Woodward Moore
  • The sufferer used one or two more Eskimo expressions, suggestive of excruciating agony, which are not translatable into English.

    Red Rooney R.M. Ballantyne
  • What is really best in any book is translatable,—any real insight or broad human sentiment.

British Dictionary definitions for translatable


/trænsˈleɪt; trænz-/
to express or be capable of being expressed in another language or dialect: he translated Shakespeare into Afrikaans, his books translate well
(intransitive) to act as translator
(transitive) to express or explain in simple or less technical language
(transitive) to interpret or infer the significance of (gestures, symbols, etc)
(transitive) to transform or convert: to translate hope into reality
(transitive; usually passive) (biochem) to transform the molecular structure of (messenger RNA) into a polypeptide chain by means of the information stored in the genetic code See also transcribe (sense 7)
to move or carry from one place or position to another
  1. to transfer (a cleric) from one ecclesiastical office to another
  2. to transfer (a see) from one place to another
(transitive) (RC Church) to transfer (the body or the relics of a saint) from one resting place to another
(transitive) (theol) to transfer (a person) from one place or plane of existence to another, as from earth to heaven
(maths, physics) to move (a figure or body) laterally, without rotation, dilation, or angular displacement
(intransitive) (of an aircraft, missile, etc) to fly or move from one position to another
(transitive) (archaic) to bring to a state of spiritual or emotional ecstasy
Derived Forms
translatable, adjective
translatability, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Latin translātus transferred, carried over, from transferre to transfer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for translatable



c.1300, "to remove from one place to another," also "to turn from one language to another," from Latin translatus "carried over," serving as past participle of transferre "to bring over, carry over" (see transfer), from trans- (see trans-) + latus "borne, carried," from *tlatos, from PIE root *tel-, *tol- "to bear, carry" (see extol). Related: Translated; translating. A similar notion is behind the Old English word it replaced, awendan, from wendan "to turn, direct" (see wend).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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translatable in Medicine

translate trans·late (trāns-lāt', trānz-, trāns'lāt', trānz'-)
v. trans·lat·ed, trans·lat·ing, trans·lates

  1. To render in another language.

  2. To put into simpler terms; explain or interpret.

  3. To subject mRNA to translation.

trans·lat'a·bil'i·ty or trans·lat'a·ble·ness n.
trans·lat'a·ble adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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