TRANSLATE returns expr with all occurrences of each character in from_string replaced by its corresponding character in to_string. Characters in expr that are not in from_string are not replaced. The argument from_string can contain more characters than to_string. In this case, the extra characters at the end of from_string have no corresponding characters in to_string. If these extra characters appear in expr, then they are removed from the return value.

If a character appears multiple times in from_string, then the to_string mapping corresponding to the first occurrence is used.

You cannot use an empty string for to_string to remove all characters in from_string from the return value. Oracle Database interprets the empty string as null, and if this function has a null argument, then it returns null. To remove all characters in from_string, concatenate another character to the beginning of from_string and specify this character as the to_string. For example, TRANSLATE(expr, 'x0123456789', 'x') removes all digits from expr.

TRANSLATE provides functionality related to that provided by the REPLACE function. REPLACE lets you substitute a single string for another single string, as well as remove character strings. TRANSLATE lets you make several single-character, one-to-one substitutions in one operation.

This function does not support CLOB data directly. However, CLOBs can be passed in as arguments through implicit data conversion.

See Also:

  • "Data Type Comparison Rules" for more information and REPLACE

  • Appendix C in Oracle Database Globalization Support Guide for the collation determination rules, which define the collation TRANSLATE uses to compare characters from expr with characters from from_string, and for the collation derivation rules, which define the collation assigned to the character return value of TRANSLATE


The following statement translates a book title into a string that could be used (for example) as a filename. The from_string contains four characters: a space, asterisk, slash, and apostrophe (with an extra apostrophe as the escape character). The to_string contains only three underscores. This leaves the fourth character in the from_string without a corresponding replacement, so apostrophes are dropped from the returned value.

SELECT TRANSLATE('SQL*Plus User''s Guide', ' */''', '___') FROM DUAL;