In this paper we study how the (normalised) Gagliardo semi-norms $[u]_{W^{s,p} (\mathbb{R}^n)}$ control translations. In particular, we prove that $\| u(\cdot + y) - u \|_{L^p (\mathbb{R}^n)} \le C [ u ] _{W^{s,p} (\mathbb{R}^n)} |y|^s$ for $n\geq1$, $s \in [0,1]$ and $p \in [1,+\infty]$, where $C$ depends only on $n$. We then obtain a corresponding higher-order version of this result: we get fractional rates of the error term in the Taylor expansion. We also present relevant implications of our two results. First, we obtain a direct proof of several compact embedding of $W^{s,p}(\mathbb{R}^n)$ where the Fr\'echet-Kolmogorov Theorem is applied with known rates. We also derive fractional rates of convergence of the convolution of a function with suitable mollifiers. Thirdly, we obtain fractional rates of convergence of finite-difference discretizations for $W^{s,p} (\mathbb{R}^n))$.

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