Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminological distinction (not all languages do) between translating (a written text) and interpreting (oral or sign-language communication between users of different languages); under this distinction, translation can begin only after the appearance of writing within a language community.
Translation studies is an academic interdiscipline dealing with the systematic study of the theory, description and application of translation, interpreting, and localization. As an interdiscipline, Translation Studies borrows much from the various fields of study that support translation. These include comparative literature, computer science, history, linguistics, philology, philosophy, semiotics, and terminology.
Such is our pride, our folly, or our fate,
That few but such as cannot write, translate.
John Denham, To Sir Richard Fanshaw, Upon his Translation of Pastor Fido (1648), line 1.
You've often heard me say – perhaps too often – that poetry is what is lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation. That little poem means just what it says and it says what it means, nothing less but nothing more.
Robert Frost, A Backward Look, by Louis Untermeyer (1964), p. 18.