In linguistics, a calque/kælk/ or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal word-for-word or root-for-root translation. When used as a verb, "to calque" means to borrow a word or phrase from another language while translating its components, so as to create a new lexeme in the target language.
"Calque" itself is a loanword from the French nouncalque ("tracing; imitation; close copy"). Proving that a word is a calque sometimes requires more documentation than does an untranslated loanword because, in some cases, a similar phrase might have arisen in both languages independently. This is less likely to be the case when the grammar of the proposed calque is quite different from that of the borrowing language, or when the calque contains less obvious imagery.
syntactic calques, in which syntactic functions or constructions of the source language are imitated in the target language, in violation of their meaning. For example, in Spanish the legal term for "to find guilty" is properly declarar culpable ("to declare guilty"). Informal usage, however, is shifting to encontrar culpable: a syntactic mapping of "to find" without a semantic correspondence in Spanish of "find" to mean "determine as true."
loan-translations, in which words are translated morpheme by morpheme or component by component into another language. The two morphemes of the Swedish word tonåring calque each part of the English "teenager": femton "fifteen" and åring "year-old" (as in the phrase tolv-åring "twelve-year-old").
semantic calques, also known as semantic loans, in which additional meanings of the source word are transferred to the word with the same primary meaning in the target language. As described below, the "computer mouse" was named in English for its resemblance to the animal; many other languages have extended their own native word for "mouse" to include the computer mouse.
morphological calques, in which the inflection of a word is transferred.
This terminology is not universal. Some authors call a morphological calque a "morpheme-by-morpheme translation". Other linguists refer to a phonological calque, in which the pronunciation of a word is imitated in the other language; for example, the English word "radar" becomes the similar-sounding Chinese word 雷达 (pinyin "léi dá").
Loan blends or partial calques translate some parts of a compound but not others. For example, the name of the Irish digital television service "Saorview" is a partial calque of that of the UK service "Freeview", translating the first half of the word from English to Irish but leaving the second half unchanged. Other examples include "liverwurst" (< German Leberwurst) and "apple strudel" (< German Apfelstrudel).
The remaining Slavic languages instead calqued their words for "translation" from an alternative Latin word trāductiō, itself derived from trādūcō ("to lead across" or "to bring across", from trans "across" + dūcō, "to lead" or "to bring").
The English verb "to translate" was borrowed from the Latin translātiō, rather than being calqued. Were the English verb "translate" calqued, it would be "overset", akin to the calques in other Germanic languages. The Icelandic word for "translate", þýða (cognate with the German deuten, meaning to interpret), was not calqued from Latin, nor was it borrowed; were the Icelandic verb calqued, it would be something like "ofursetja", analogously to the other Germanic words.
Following are the Germanic- and Slavic-language calques for "translation":
^Overzetting (noun) and overzetten (verb) in the sense of "translation" and "to translate", respectively, are considered archaic. While omzetting may still be found in early modern literary works, it has been replaced entirely in modern Dutch by vertaling.