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A translation moves every point of a figure or a space by the same amount in a given direction.
A reflection against an axis followed by a reflection against a second axis parallel to the first one results in a total motion which is a translation.

In Euclidean geometry, a translation is moving every point a constant distance in a specified direction. It is one of the rigid motions (other rigid motions include rotation and reflection). A translation can also be interpreted as the addition of a constant vector to every point, or as shifting the origin of the coordinate system. A translation operator is an operator T_\mathbf{\delta} such that T_\mathbf{\delta} f(\mathbf{v}) = f(\mathbf{v}+\mathbf{\delta}).

If v is a fixed vector, then the translation Tv will work as Tv(p) = p + v.

If T is a translation, then the image of a subset A under the function T is the translate of A by T. The translate of A by Tv is often written A + v.

In a Euclidean space, any translation is an isometry. The set of all translations forms the translation group T, which is isomorphic to the space itself, and a normal subgroup of Euclidean group E(n ). The quotient group of E(n ) by T is isomorphic to the orthogonal group O(n ):

E(n ) / TO(n ).

Matrix representation

Since a translation is an affine transformation but not a linear transformation, homogeneous coordinates are normally used to represent the translation operator by a matrix and thus to make it linear. Thus we write the 3-dimensional vector w = (wx, wy, wz) using 4 homogeneous coordinates as w = (wx, wy, wz, 1).


To translate an object by a vector v, each homogeneous vector p (written in homogeneous coordinates) would need to be multiplied by this translation matrix:

 T_{\mathbf{v}} = \begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 & 0 & v_x \ 0 & 1 & 0 & v_y \ 0 & 0 & 1 & v_z \ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix}

As shown below, the multiplication will give the expected result:

 T_{\mathbf{v}} \mathbf{p} = \begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 & 0 & v_x \ 0 & 1 & 0 & v_y\ 0 & 0 & 1 & v_z\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix} \begin{bmatrix} p_x \\ p_y \\ p_z \\ 1 \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} p_x + v_x \\ p_y + v_y \\ p_z + v_z \\ 1 \end{bmatrix} = \mathbf{p} + \mathbf{v}

The inverse of a translation matrix can be obtained by reversing the direction of the vector:

 T^{-1}_{\mathbf{v}} = T_{-\mathbf{v}} . \!

Similarly, the product of translation matrices is given by adding the vectors:

 T_{\mathbf{u}}T_{\mathbf{v}} = T_{\mathbf{u}+\mathbf{v}} . \!

Because addition of vectors is commutative, multiplication of translation matrices is therefore also commutative (unlike multiplication of arbitrary matrices).

See also

External links

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