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April 20, 2021By legaltranslationsTranslations Tips

What is Abstract Translation?

Abstract meaning

Abstracts are short summaries of research papers, usually only a few sentences long. Abstracts give the gist of what the research paper is all about. The abstract translation is therefore the professional translation of abstracts so that researchers whose language is not the same as that of the person who wrote the abstract can understand what the research paper is all about and whether the content of the paper is relevant to their own interests.

It is unlikely that the abstract translation meaning would be the only part of a research paper to be translated. The rest of the paper would have to be translated as well, otherwise, there would be little point in the abstract being translated all by itself. However, it is quite possible that a link about the abstract translation may be published separately with a link to the rest of the paper in the references available to international researchers.


    Who needs abstract translation?

    An abstract translation is part of important communication and cooperation between scientists and others who write authoritative reports on a variety of subjects. University graduates and postgraduates are trained to write well-written reports and an abstract is a normal part of such a report.

    Most scientific research papers contain information that is shared with other researchers who are interested in the topic of research referred to in the paper. Without abstract translation, it would be impossible for either the writers of the paper to share their findings or theories with researchers whose languages are not the same. Equally, without abstract translation, the content of papers written by researchers in a language other than your own would not be readily available. Most scientific research advances when every new discovery or experimental conclusion is shared around with the world. Professional translators who offer to translate scientific documents, including abstracts help to make scientific and other discoveries available to a wider audience.

    The stages of abstract translation

    The following are the main stages in a typical abstract translation.

    • Highlight the main points of the abstract.
    • Paraphrase the salient points.
    • Identify those parts that are heavily semantic.
    • Convert the semantics into translation language.
    • Transduction of semantic parts into the language of translation.
    • Present the abstract’s text in a structured way.

    Most abstracts, as has already been mentioned, are relatively short segments of text, so the actual translation part is not likely to take very long. A well-written abstract in the original language should give the reader a good introduction to the content of the research paper without having to read through the whole paper.

    The translator whose job it is to translate the paper would preferably have some background in the subject matter that the paper refers to without having to be an expert in the specific subject matter. The translator would also preferably skim through the paper before translating the abstract so that if there are any queries about meaning or terminology these can be aired with the author of the abstract before translation. Most scientific papers are likely to use scientific terminology with very specific meanings and it is the job of the translator to not only convey the precise meaning of the abstract but to give accurate equivalent translations of terminology, units, etc.

    Types of abstract translation

    The use of an abstract is found in the following types of documents:

    • educational material;
    • news items;
    • scientific articles;
    • theses and dissertations.

    Abstract translation could be completed for any type of research document intended to be submitted to an international readership. Even students who submit research documents within their own institution may prefer to write the paper in their own native language if they are international students and pay to have their paper translated by a professional abstract or document translator.

    Generally, the most widespread use of abstracts is in academic research papers where the use of a well-written abstract for a thesis for instance can make all the difference in terms of its appeal.

    What is an abstract in a research paper?

    The abstract translation may be the only part of the research paper translation or just part of it in the same way that the abstract is an introduction to the thesis, dissertation, or another academic article. 

    Research papers typically start with an abstract. The abstract is a concise summary of the content of the main thesis. It outlines the purpose of the research, the methods used, the results, and the conclusions. 


    Abstracts are considered to be a concise overview of a research document, generally only a few sentences long. Many research papers are made available to international researchers interested in the same subject making both abstract translation and scientific document translation often essential.

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