In general terms compensation can be used when something cannot be translated, and the meaning that is lost is expressed somewhere else in the translated text.It is defined as: "...making good in one part of the text something that could not be translated in another". One example give is the problem of translating nuances of formality from languages that use forms such as Spanish informal tú and formal usted, French tu and vous, and German du and sie into English which only has 'you', and expresses degrees of formality in different ways.
As Louise M. Haywood from the University of Cambridge puts it, "we have to remember that translation is not just a movement between two languages but also between two cultures. Cultural transposition is present in all translation as degrees of free textual adaptation departing from maximally literal translation, and involves replacing items whose roots are in the source language culture with elements that are indigenous to the target language. The translator exercises a degree of choice in his or her use of indigenous features, and, as a consequence, successful translation may depend on the translator's command of cultural assumptions in each language in which he or she works".