Posted by: sbilingual | March 26, 2012

Differences Between Translation And Interpretation

Translation and interpretation are the two terms that people use all the times but are often mixed up. They do not mean the same things and require a different formation and abilities.

Studying the facts and terms used below will help you decide if becoming an interpreter or a translator is something for you or the right services to choose for your company.

What are the common facts?

The translators and interpreters must love to learn about other civilizations and be willing to spend extra time to understand the other cultures better and not just their own as both will be required to translate/interpret from the source language to the target language.

Translation and interpretation have to give the precise information in the intended language and this needs to be done in the language that they grew up with to ensure accuracy.

Both fields entail to learn more than two languages. This might appear as a common knowledge, but in reality many translators and interpreters know one language very well and the other only partially.

Both Interpreters and Translators should stay informed about the terms and existing matters in their discipline. If you are doing a translation about Hybrid cars then you should know what is going on with that technology, if you are interpreting for a cardio surgeon, you need to know the terms that have to do with pain, procedure etc

What are the differences?

An interpretation is done orally and at the same time. On the other hand, a translation is a written assignment translated from one language to the target language.
A translator does not need to be part of a team and can work from home. An interpreter has to work with multiple people at the same time and has to work on site.

Types of Translation:

Software translation
It is done by a computer through some internet sites and the translation is done poorly.

Software-assisted translation
This is a great tool as the translator is able to create a memory of terms, like medical, financial, legal and he can choose if the word or sentences he used is appropriate for that specific context.

Translation/interpretation from a display
Translators work on the screen that will appear as a subtitle and the interpreters record their voices for dubbing purposes

Sight translation
This is done by interpreters when for example someone is at a conference and gives a verbal explanation of a written document. The interpreter needs to express orally the changes in the target language.

Consider it a better marketing tool. The company will market the product by keeping in mind the cultures and customs of the targeted country.

Types of interpretation:

Instantaneous interpretation
The interpreter listens to a conversation and translates it at the same time as he hears it, using a headphones and a mike. Instantaneous interpretation happen when many languages are needed. The interpreters will only interpret from one language to its native tongue.

Successive interpretation
The interpreter memorizes what someone says up to few sentences at a time and interprets during silences. This method can only be used when two languages are needed; for example, if you are helping out a journalist whose language is German and who has a Spanish audience. The interpreter will go back and forth between German and Spanish to make sure questions and answers are given correctly

Being an interpreter or a translator has its great rewards but you need to have the right languages skills and aptitudes to do either one perfectly.

To find out how Bilingual Resources Group can support your interpretation, translation and bilingual staffing needs, please call 504-253-0364 or visit


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