Sense-for-sense translation is the oldest norm for translating. It fundamentally means translating the meaning of each whole sentence before moving on to the next, and stands in normative opposition to word-for-word translation (also known as literal translation).
John Dryden proposed dividing translation into three parts called: metaphrase, paraphrase and imitation. Metaphrase is word-for-word and line by line translation from one language into another. Paraphrase is sense-for-sense translation where the message of the author is kept but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense, which too can be altered or amplified. Imitation is the use of either metaphrase or paraphrase but the translator has the liberty to choose which is appropriate and how the message will be conveyed.
In 1964, Eugene Nida described translation as having two different types of equivalence: formal and dynamic equivalence. Formal equivalence is when there is focus on the message itself (in both form and content); the message in the target language should match the message in the source language as closely as possible. In dynamic equivalence, there is less concern with matching the message in the target language with the message in the source language; the goal is to produce the same relationship between target text and target audience as there was with the original source text and its audience.
In 1981, Peter Newmark referred to translation as either semantic (word-for-word) or communicative (sense-for-sense). He stated that semantic translation is one that is source language bias, literal and faithful to the source text and communicative translation is target language bias, free and idiomatic. A semantic translation’s goal is to stay as close as possible to the semantic and syntactic structures of the source language, allowing the exact contextual meaning of the original. A communicative translation’s goal is to produce an effect on the readers as close as possible to that as produced upon the readers of the original.
In addition to these concepts, in 1990, Brian Mossop presented his concept of idiomatic and unidiomatic translation. Idiomatic translation is when the message of the source text is conveyed the way a target language writer would convey it, rather than staying to the way in which it was conveyed in the source text. Unidiomatic translation is innovative and translates individual words.