Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Both of these seem very similar to me. Is there any difference between "books translated to English" and "books translated in English"?

Google search returns many results for both (> 400,000), though "translated to English" gives more results than "translated in English". If only one of them is correct, then why the confusion?

share|improve this question
1  
From one language to another ... from Spanish to (or into) English. –  Roddy of the Frozen Peas Nov 2 '12 at 21:45
    
Not sure where you get the Google figures from. I get 20k for "books translated in English", 56k for "books translated to English", and 127k for "books translated into English". You might also be interested in supporting our proposed sister site specifically for English language learners. Thank you. –  RegDwigнt Nov 2 '12 at 22:47
    
@RegDwighт Forgot to mention that I had googled only for "translated in English" and "translated to English". Thanks for pointing to ELL site. –  user13107 Nov 2 '12 at 23:08
    
This is a "popular question" with zero upvotes! Amusing. –  user13107 Sep 29 '13 at 6:22

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Neither - it's books translated into English. Some relevant usage figures from Google Books...

"books translated into English" 83,200 hits

"books translated to English" 85 hits

"books translated in English" 198 hits

There's no principle of grammar, logic, or semantics involved here. It's just that nearly everyone falls into line and repeats what they hear nearly everyone else say - unlike this sentence, where people are actually about evenly split over whether they "fall into line" or "fall in line" (but they never "fall to line" in that sense).

share|improve this answer
2  
Is it like, because there was confusion between in and to, people started using BOTH? –  user13107 Nov 2 '12 at 21:51
    
@user13107: Don't forget both put together are barely 1/300th of the "standard" form, so they don't mean much anyway. Others may differ, but in my idiolect, to is non-standard but just about "okay", whereas in is effectively unknown/illiterate. So if those few Google Books results mean anything at all, they're probably telling me that non-native speakers disproportionately choose "in" instead of "into". There are even 19 hits for "in to", which is 100% illiterate. –  FumbleFingers Nov 2 '12 at 22:28
    
+1 for 'fall into/in' reference! –  user13107 Nov 3 '12 at 5:53
    
Google ignores stop words like "in" and "to" (but not "into"), so your usage figures may not be correct. –  dbkk Nov 3 '12 at 17:11
    
@dbkk: It's a bit more complicated than just "Google ignores 'stop' words" - and in any case, Google Books uses a different "guesstimate" algorithm to the standard "Google Internet". Your point is "sorta" valid, but my point isn't significantly affected by the possibility that the "headline" figures are skewed by an order of magnitude (in either direction). –  FumbleFingers Nov 3 '12 at 20:07

In the given context, it's always translated into not translated to or translated in to. You could very well say that "cats" translate to "tomcats", which is a totally different thing.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.