Here at Peripatetic Translation Services GmbH we are expanding a seminal type of text. Ten years of experience in translating and writing in German, Russian and English has led to an attempt to define this kind of text as a transposition.

The transposition of your source text is an extensive rewriting of the original to align the target text with the readers’ expectations in the target language. The difference between a transposition and an adaptation is that a transposition systematically includes each sentence of the original in the new text, whereas adaptation excludes large portions of the original and often adds new material.

To transpose a text, you must supplement, delete, simplify, complicate, expand, modifying the contents of the original within the context of each individual sentence.

This requires exceptional knowledge of the target language and field, the practices in it and the horizons or knowledge of readers. Such expertise goes beyond the ordinary skills of a translator. It also involves subjectivity and may require close collaboration with the client.

Each transposition, similar to a translation, passes through four stages prior to delivery:

  • Transposer prepares first draft of the transposition
  • Transposer compares the first draft with the original and makes any necessary adjustments,
  • Transposer proofreads the final target text
  • Peripatetic Media reviews the delivered text

Only after successful completion of these four stages is the translation and transposition delivered to you.

The price is the same as for a transposition.


Peripatetic Translation Services GmbH supplies your transposition quickly and reliably by the arranged deadline.

Transposition in detail

A transposition may consist of various elements, particularly:

  • aligning expectations,
  • rephrasing,
  • parallels

Aligning expectations

In some cases, the expectations in the source language require, for example, a level of detail and scope of content that may be deemed unnecessary in the target language. These issues may range from the translation of specific terms, especially compound nouns, to the composition of entire sentences.

The goal here is to bring the target text in line with the target reader while retaining the intent of the original in transposition. If a Russian reader expects a certain degree of complexity with detailed explanations while the American reader demands a streamlined representation of the content, the transposition of a text will take this into account.

An example of this would be the common German word Markenauftritt. This word is very difficult to translate. Brand appearance, appearance of brand, or look instead of appearance, etc. sound quite strange. The term must be reformulated or simplified, depending on the context. This is a case where the act of transposition inevitably enters into translation. If the entire text is transposed, then not just an isolated term, but rather each sentence is questioned in terms of its suitability for an English audience.


An instance of rephrasing could consist of a source text that begins its brochure with this type of sentence (translated from German):

Mit der XXX Solution lässt sich die Arbeitsorganisation durch optimale Vernetzung aller am Produktionsprozess Beteiligten im höchsten Maße rationalisieren.

The XXX solution lets you streamline the organisation of work to the highest degree by ideally linking all the participants involved in the production process.

Presumably, the German original is in harmony with the expectations of its readers, but the client might decide that this long sentence at the beginning of a brochure is poorly suited to the conventions of the English language. It might be preferable to break the sentence into two parts, eliminate compound nouns, or replace the prepositional phrase (im höchsten Maße/to the highest degree) with an adverb or even reduce the sentence to its central purpose. Where this act goes beyond the translation process (which attempts to produce the greatest possible equivalence) and enters into the field of technical writing, we have a case of transposition similar to what we know from adaptations in the arts.

Possible transposition: The XXX solution lets you streamline all organization by linking everyone who is involved in the production process.

This alteration goes beyond a translation, which aims for the greatest equivalence to the original text, since the original sentence has been simplified by omitting a few elements. That is why we call it a transposition.


Another consideration in rendering a foreign text in a new linguistic zone is the difference in reception that a certain signifier will have on its audience. While this issue is also critical in an ordinary translation, a transposition may alter speakers, references, tenses, narration/discourse, structure… to provide the target reader with a text in harmony with his or her horizons.

German history texts are often written in the present tense. The author writes that Leo Tolstoy is born on September 9, 1828. In a translation, you would probably retain the present tense; in a transposition, serious consideration would be given to shifting the tenses into the past.

Another example of transposition would be the treatment of a regulatory body. The German Finanzamt is almost always translated as Tax Office, Fiscal Tax Office, Tax Authority, etc. These translations sound somewhat strange in British and American English. Usually it is important that the truest or most common translation be used. The German Finanzamt is never translated at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That is correct for a translation, but this office would probably be transposed as the Internal Revenue Service if the context shifts to the US.