Translators vs Interpreters

Translation versus Interpretation

If you look at it from a very basic level, translators and interpreters seem to have interchangeable jobs, but it’s not the job title that defines the position—it’s the tasks required to do the job.

Translators must be able to write, express, paraphrase and even joke using a specific linguistic combination of the language they are translating. Most translators will work with their own native tongue to translate documents in one language into another. Overall, the work is rather one-dimensional.

Interpreters, on the other hand, must take spoken words and divide them into two categories—the language of the speaker and that of the listener. They don’t have the luxury of time or the ability to review documents—they’re on the spot. Interpreters often work as bridges between two cultures and they are relied upon to portray tone, emotion and even intention from the words another person is speaking.

Many people confuse the terms interpretation and translation. Though they have similar qualities, these two terms are by no means synonymous. The fact of the matter is that these are two entirely different jobs that have two entirely different skill sets. Therefore, when you’re in the market for interpreting services, it’s imperative that you understand what interpreters do and why translation is an entirely different job altogether.

What Interpreting Services Do

Interpreting services are able to provide companies and individuals with simultaneous and consecutive interpretation.

  • Simultaneous – This is real-time interpretation where an interpreter is present and interpreting foreign words as they are spoken. A good example of this is the interpreters in headsets who sit at the back of United Nations meetings.
  • Consecutive – This type of interpretation service is used in speeches, court cases and face-to-face meetings. Speakers will use their native tongue, but take pauses so that the interpreter can relay what was said to others.

Interpretation services can provide a valuable link between countries. They are perfect for companies expanding into global markets as well as individuals who are trying to navigate within a specific country. With interpreting services, individuals and businesses can take advantage of accuracy, efficiency and consistency that reading a language dictionary cannot provide.

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