Slang Translation: How to Translate Slang Into Other Languages?

It’s really very difficult to do slang translation. You cannot depend on other ways and the professional translator’s help to get the slang translated correctly.

Many of you may be unaware of the word “slang”, which is an informal language. Generally, its utilized more frequently in speech than in formal writing.

Slang expressions bring a challenge for skilled native language translators who need to capture the tone as well as the meaning of the actual content for a global audience.

Although slang sounds casual, not every slang word is inappropriate or vulgar. Slang terms often become a part of our daily vocabulary.

Same as any other language, slang grows and differs widely between various regions and nations. Global businesses should pay proper attention to slang at the time of the localization process.

The next that we will explore here is how to translate slang into another language for global audiences.

How to Translate Slant into Other Languages?

There are three best approaches which can be followed carefully to effectively translate a document containing slang terms:

1- Softening

Softening emphasis is more on eliminating the offensiveness or vulgarity of the slang in the better-translated version of a source text.

This can assist with making the content quite appropriate as well as comprehensible for the target audience.

2- Literal Translation

A literal translation is exactly the same as what it actually sounds like: accurately translating a slang phrase or word-for-word. This method works for effectively a few phrases, but others may be fully lost in translation.

3- Stylistic Compensation

Stylistic compensation takes the place of the original slang with a contextually suitable replacement from the target culture or language. Typically, this is the most usual way to translate slang.

Remember that the appropriate translation method for slang may likewise depend on the context. In case, you want to accurately translate a book, you can share context for work preferences in footnotes.

Therefore, you possibly won’t need the same luxury while translating subtitles for a TV show or film.

Effect of Slang on Language

Slang evolve the English language by including more new words and providing speakers with more stylishtic alternatie.

No language is static, and English is itself a big collection as well as the reinvention of words from several other root languages like Greek, Latin and Sanskrit.

Native speakers of a language usually have great control over their style and tone because of their ability to switch from slang as well as more formal styles.

Slang expressions such as LOL and OMG have not just entered into our conversations, but also into the Oxford Dictionary.

In the French language, the slang used in place of LOL is MDR or “mort de rire” (dying of laughter) in place of the English LOL. Thus, the translator must need to ensure essentially polishing language skills before attempting translation.

You might think that slang is only used by the under-30 crowd, but the truth is people of almost every age today use some colloquial terms. As per reports, 80% of people around the world use slang.

With that in mind, you should expect most content to include some slang expressions.

Effect of Slang on Translation

Usually, formal language is quite easy to translate than slang.

Understanding translating a simple sentence like “I want to go home” from English to German is easy. While slang expressions might have cultural references or wordplay that are tough to convey in another language.

Often translators find it difficult in translating slang into an original text.

For example, when an English speaker says, “There is not sufficient room to swing a cat” they are referring to limited space. However, Russian may not comprehend the phrase unless cost effective Russian translation is done.

A proficient translator should have a good hold on both the source as well as the target language to get suitable translation strategies for slang expressions.

They mainly followed the translation process for slang including utilizing phrases with the same meaning in the target language. This allows translators to maintain the tone as well as the meaning of the source text.

Though, it may need to use an expression with a completely different literal meaning.

Suppose that, if you are trying to translate the word “cool” into Spanish, you’ll have to get the right word that suits the situation.

According to the translator at a Spanish translation agency in Gurgaon, there are numerous same words in the Spanish language, but don’t have an exact match for the English “cool.”


When used rightly, slang adds freshness and more relevance to a language. Translating slang accurately will help you seamlessly engage with your target audience by ensuring your content seem more relatable.

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