This study examined whether training in translation/interpretation leads to a reliance on a ‘vertical’ translation strategy in which the source language text is comprehended before the message is reformulated. Students of translation/interpreting and untrained bilinguals were given an idiom translation judgment task with literal (form and meaning) or figurative equivalents (meaning only). Dependent measures included the time taken to comprehend the first presented sentence and the accuracy and speed of judging if the second presented sentence was a translation of the first sentence. The groups did not differ in their speed of reading the first presented sentence but translation verification times differed by group and translation type: untrained bilinguals were significantly faster at verifying literal than figurative translations while trained bilinguals were equally fast for the two types. The pattern of findings is consistent with the view that training in translation fosters a processing-for-meaning-before reformulating, or vertical, translation strategy.