Does one translate a word or phrase into another language or to another language? For example:
- Translate the following phrase to Spanish.
- Translate the following phrase into Spanish.
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In my experience/dialect, you use translate into when you are talking about the target language, but you can optionally use translate to when you are talking about the target text (the specific equivalent for the piece of original text you're talking about).
For example, all of these are acceptable:
(1) I translated "I like cats" into Spanish.
(2) I translated "I like cats" into "Me gustan los gatos."
(3) I translated "I like cats" to "Me gustan los gatos."
Note that translate to is very commonly used intransitively, e.g.:
(4) "I like cats" translates to "Me gustan los gatos."
However, you can't use translate into intransitively, and you can't translate to a language as a whole. Thus, these are unacceptable:
(1a) *I translated "I like cats" to Spanish.
(4a) *"I like cats" translates into "Me gustan los gatos."
As far as translation is concerned, you translate into another language. You don't translate to it.
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the BBC English dictionary and the OED one translates into another language.
Translate to is used alongside translate into in a sentence like :
The rates translate to monthly payments of $399...
and translate to is used when translating something to something :
This book was translated to film....
But google gives hundreds of instances of use of "translate to" another language.
use dictionary :)
1 CHANGE LANGUAGES [intransitive, transitive] to change written or spoken words into another language → interpret
translate something (from something) into something Translate the text from Italian into English. Poetry doesn’t usually translate well.
translate as Dagda, an ancient Irish deity, literally translates as ‘the good god’.
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