In the policy sciences the study of dissemination phenomena is usually connected to the concept of policy diffusion. In view of what has been produced using this perspective, there is every reason to develop alternative points of view. In this article we present the main features of one such alternative: the constructivist translation perspective. The translation perspective depicts policy diffusion as an imitation process, where meaning is constructed by disembedding policy ideas from their previous context and using them as models for altered political structures in a new context. The translation metaphor draws attention to the importance of a deepened problematisation of the policy concept, the personal character of the translation, and to the fact that translation processes are always tied to local contexts. Policy translation should be seen as an open, continuous process, never independent of the societal distribution of power. In this article the translation perspective is outlined and illustrated by a detailed case study of the Swedish methadone maintenance treatment programme.