Target language (translation)

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In translation, the target language, also called the receptor language[1], is the language being translated to. It is the antonym of source language, which is the language being translated from.[2]

In most professional settings, the target language is also the translator's first language.[3] Translation for specialized or professional fields often requires a working knowledge as well of the pertinent terminologies in the target language. For example, translation of a legal text requires not only fluency in the target language but also familiarity with the terminology specific to the legal field in the target language.[4]

While the form and style of the source language often cannot be reproduced in the target language, the meaning and content can. Linguist Roman Jakobson went so far as to assert that all cognitive experience can be classified and expressed in any living language.[5]


  1. ^ Willis Barnstone, The Poetics of Translation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), p. 228.
  2. ^ Basil Hatim and Jeremy Munday, Translation: An Advanced Resource Book, Introduction, pg. xx. Milton Park: Routledge, 2004. ISBN 9780415283052
  3. ^ Carline FéRailleur-Dumoulin, A Career in Language Translation: Insightful Information to Guide You in Your Journey as a Professional Translator, pg. 1. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2009. ISBN 9781467052047
  4. ^ Gerard-Rene de Groot, "Translating legal information." Taken from Translation in Law, vol. 5 of the Journal of Legal Hermeneutics, pg. 132. Ed. Giuseppe Zaccaria. Hamburg: LIT Verlag Munster, 2000. ISBN 9783825848620
  5. ^ Basil Hatim and Jeremy Munday, Translation, pg. 10.