"Untranslated" or "not translated" text?

Is there any difference in usage?

Does both sound equally natural to native speakers?


In the means of a software which is better when talking about:

1) the number of words that translators haven't translated yet

2) the number of words that the proofreader haven't approved yet?

No questions regarding "translated" and "approved", they are just additional context to show the usage. I want to use them anyway, the question regards only untranslated or not translated; unapproved or not approved.


Translated: 1500 words

Approved: 700 words

Not translated: 500 words

Not approved: 700 words


Translated: 1500 words

Approved: 700 words

Untranslated: 500 words

Unapproved: 700 words

  • 1
    Putting a bounty on your question won't motivate more answers when the question still isn't clear. What exactly are you trying to say with this and why would you think they might be different? Without more context, they mean the same, but if you think there is a distinction that could be made, maybe neither choice (un or non) is the best choice. Feb 15, 2018 at 5:05
  • Can you help me with context ideas you are talking about? For me everything is pretty clear(in the question), so please help me know what kind of additional information do you need. maybe some specific questions?
    – Oksi
    Feb 15, 2018 at 14:10
  • 2
    As a veteran of the translation and editing wars, my advice to you is: pay an English-language editor to fix your text. This is an editing question if I ever saw one .....and adding a bounty to it, changes nothing. Also, there are at least three good existing CAT programs that have licked this problem and if you are creating a program, you should check them before asking the question here. An editor would also correct your other English mistakes. This is about word counts in a CAT program.
    – Lambie
    Feb 19, 2018 at 15:04

6 Answers 6


This depends on what is this software helping you accomplish. If the task is to translate 100% of the words from a list, then it would be:

  • Words translated
  • Words pending translation
  • Words Approved
  • Words pending approval

Where: {Words translated + words pending translation} = 100% original file. Especially if the person (or department) doing the approval is not the same doing the translation.

But maybe, the software is just giving you stats because you are not supposed to translate every single word. Perhaps some words don't even need or accept translation.

Then I might suggest:

  • Words translated 247/2500
  • Words approved 125/247

This alternative is nice because it gives you an easy read on the progress as well as the magnitude of the task involved.

To me, this is not about word-choice as it is about data visualization.

  • Yes and even so, those are are specially biased, not generally accepted uses of those words. Who doubts that plea, say so now… Feb 16, 2018 at 22:32
  • I like this better than my answer. Feb 17, 2018 at 4:05

In the context of the original question, "untranslated text" sounds more natural than "not translated text". To use the second option it's better to phrase it like "the text is not translated".


Clearly there are differences, as any search engine should have told you.

Broadly, “untranslated” is a well-recognised idiomatic reference to any passage that has not been translated, and will be clearly understood in most if not all contexts.

Broadly, “not translated” might be factual but it is unidiomatic and will usually need explaining.

Broadly “as yet untranslated…” is reasonably built on the original; “which has not been translated…” is an unreasonable extrapolation - I think it’s a clear distortion but for now, let’s stick with extrapolation.

“Untranslated” is a clear and simple statement of fact, independent of reason. “Not translated” begs the question, Why?

Part - I suggest a large part - of the problem here is the interesting attempt to compare “translated” with “approved”. What in English could justify that, please?

Broadly no, the phrases will not sound equally natural to native speakers.

More broadly what, please, is your “In the means of a software which is better when talking about the number of words that translators haven't translated yet and haven't approved yet”?

Did you notice either that that doesn’t work in English or that to the extend it did work, it would have moved the whole Question out of any English remit and into one concerned instead with your software?

I don’t understand even why this Question belongs in English Language & Usage, let alone has a bounty on it…

  • thank you for the answer! I mentioned the software to explain the context, as it's a translation program. And "untranslated, unapproved" - is also the context, because I wanted both notions to be written in the same manner/style/you name it. Approved here means that the word is translated and the proofreader approved this word.
    – Oksi
    Feb 15, 2018 at 12:02
  • I also wanted to choose untranslated but was unsure if unapproved will also sound natural. Because these 2 words often come together in the program and I wanted to keep the wording consistent. So, do you say that "unapproved" (meaning that the word might be translated or not by a translator, but it's definitely not approved by a proofreader) would sound good?
    – Oksi
    Feb 15, 2018 at 12:07
  • Oksi, please be very sure that you’re talking about English and there is no possibility of any kind of software being relevant. Either your software does follow all the rules and idioms of English so it matters not all, or it fails in some way and failure should be discussed on a WWW dedicated to software in general or linguistic software in particular. Everyone who thinks I’m being unreasonable or even harsh, please strike me down. Feb 16, 2018 at 21:57
  • Sorry and “untranslated”, “not translated” and “unapproved" do not share their meanings. Even if they did, they would not suite the same styles. Don’t you think using “proofreader” in this context indicates a misunderstanding - in English, at least - of the scope of proof-reading, translation and approval, at least? Feb 16, 2018 at 22:13
  • Don’t you think using “proofreader” in this context indicates a misunderstanding - in English, at least - of the scope of and differences among writing and editing, proof-reading, translation and approval, at least? Feb 16, 2018 at 22:18

Okay, let's say we're collaborating on a translation, and at some point we want to check how far along we are. Here's how I would do the word counts:


  • Translated: 1500 words

  • Translated and checked (OR confirmed): 700 words

  • Yet to translate: 500 words

  • Translated but needing checking: 700 words

What about words that were translated but rejected by the proofreader?

  • 1
    Perhaps all well and good, aparente001, but that's not about English… it's purely about statistics within the context of a particular programme, isn't it? Feb 16, 2018 at 22:30

Yes, both are fine.

'The text, as yet untranslated, describes...'

'The text, which has not been translated, describes...'


This is a technical aspect. Untranslated means that there is no version of the document in another language. Not translated means a cognitive thing: this is the rudiments of translating. One knows that the article is untranslated but there maybe a need to translate.

  • I don't understand the nature of this distinction that you indicate.
    – herisson
    Jul 19, 2018 at 15:26

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