As we all know, translation is the interpreting of the meaning of a text and the subsequent production of an equivalent text, or we can call translation is like communicating the same message in another language.
To make a translation exactly express the meaning of the source language, translators must take constraints that include context, the rules of grammar of the two languages, their writing conventions, and their idioms into account. There are two types of translation, one is the literal translation, and we call it word-for-word translation or mechanical translation; the other is the dynamic equivalent translation, or we can call it flexible translation.
The word-for-word translation means translate the source language (SL) word by word into target language (TL) without considering the connotation, the background situation of both TL and SL, this kind of translation is dull and boring and normally used in medical and technical translation; while the dynamic equivalent translation is more flexible and vivid than the word-for-word translation, because it takes into account the context and apparent intent of the original. When providing a dynamic equivalent translation, the translator considers the culture of the original document, understands the nuances of the original language, and takes into account idiomatic expressions. The result is a finished product that comes alive to the reader with the actual intent of the original.The dynamic equivalent translation is usually used in the literature translation or daily conversation.
When we are translating, we may always confused by the situations in which we should use word-by-word translation or flexible translation. If we translate or interpret our daily talking with word-for-word, it will always make jokes, since word-for-word translation in daily conversation or literature works may result in totally different or awkward meanings. The following are the sentences that we may mistranslate in word-for-word.