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Interpreter VS Translator

Interpreter VS Translator: Which One Does Your Business Need?

Interpreter vs. translator? What is the difference? 

The translation industry is full of complicated terms that many people find difficult to understand. 

When it comes to interpreters vs. translators, it sometimes feels even more so because many use both terms interchangeably. 

However, there is indeed a distinction to consider when choosing between interpreters vs. translators

In this blog, we will clarify that difference, giving you all the nitty-gritty, including the respective definitions, types, skills, and professional services of translation and interpretation, so you can choose what is best for your business. 

What Does Translation Mean? 

Let us start by defining translation. 

Translation in its most basic form means conveying information, whether spoken or written, from one language to another, maintaining the original meaning, style, tone, and context. 

This job can be done by either native translators or near-native translators who have acquired a certain language as their second tongue and have above-average knowledge of its culture and intricacies. 

What Does Interpretation Mean? 

Interpretation, on the other hand, is a branch of the original term but fulfills a more specific purpose. 

It is the oral translation of spoken language that aims to deliver a spoken message from one language to another, either in real-time or near real-time. 

So, in a manner of speaking, all interpreters are translators, but not all translators are interpreters since the term “translation” is much more general. 

What are the Types of Translation? 

Translation as an art form is as old as, probably, civilization itself.

It has gone through many changes over the course of time, which resulted in the inception of many types to meet every demand. 

Some of these types include the following: 

  • Literal Translation

Literal translations are more direct in conveying words, phrases, and sentences to other languages. 

They show less emphasis on considering cultural or idiomatic differences, which might be irrelevant in certain cases. 

This type is better suited for fields that demand high precision, steering away from adding personal interpretation of texts.

 These texts include some legal documents, technical manuals, and more. 

  • Interlinear Translation

This type is most beneficial for language learners or learners in general. 

In this type, native translators align the original text word-for-word with the translation, so it is easier for learners to understand the meaning. 

Publishing houses and educational institutions can use an interlinear translation service to provide a customized version of literary books, religious texts, or educational material to meet learners’ needs everywhere. 

  • Free Translation 

This type can intersect with another branch of translation, which is known as transcreation. 

In free translation, translators have more liberty in departing from the literal meaning of the original text, by paraphrasing, omitting, or adding details to make the translated version more natural-sounding. 

However, translators are still bound to convey the essence of the original text. 

Transcreation shares the same aspects in terms of freedom, but it is more intensive in that regard. 

In transcreation, native translators (or transcreators) focus on capturing the emotional impact of the original text and then transferring it to another language to evoke similar effects, just more suitable for the target culture. 

Both free translation and transcreation are in high demand in marketing and advertising. 

  • Localization

While not exactly a type of translation, localization is still considered an evolution of the original craft. 

It is the adaptation of a product, service, or content to suit the preferences of a target market in terms of cultural nuances, linguistic conventions, and the like. 

The term localization is derived from the words “localize” and “local”, which both revolve around being native to a certain spot. 

The main objective in localization is to tailor the original content so it would speak to the target audience as if created for them in the first place. 

This branch is primarily useful in the marketing, entertainment, and gaming industries, just to name a few. 

What are the Types of Interpretation?

To simplify choosing between interpreters vs. translators, let us also talk about some of the most common types in the interpretation field. 

  • Simultaneous Interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation is considered one of the most difficult types in the field. 

Its difficulty comes from having to interpret spoken language in real-time, as the conversation takes place, without taking pauses. 

It requires a quick and witty individual who is capable of thinking in two languages simultaneously, while also being accurate in every word they deliver. 

Simultaneous interpretation services are commonly used in conferences, meetings, and large events with the help of specialized equipment. 

  • Consecutive Interpretation

A less demanding type, yet still requires extensive training to master. 

Consecutive interpretations involve listening carefully to one of the two speaking parties who are engaged in a conversation while taking notes of what is being said. 

After the speaker is finished, a consecutive interpreter renders the message in the target language and then repeats the same steps with the other speaker. 

Consecutive interpretation services are better suited for small-scale conversations, like business meetings, where there is much room for taking things slowly. 

  • Whispered Interpretation

Whispered interpretation is a sub-category of simultaneous interpretation. 

This type is convenient in situations where only one person or a small group of people need interpretation and providing interpretation equipment would be impractical. 

In such a case, an interpreter’s job is to whisper the translation directly to the listeners, maintaining proximity. 

  • Sign Language Interpretation

Sign Language interpretation is the connective tissue between the deaf or the hard-of-hearing community and the rest of the world. 

It requires specialized interpreters who are proficient in any Sign Language of choice, such as the American Sign Language (ASL), and one or many other spoken languages. 

This type is meant for simplifying communication between people, transcending any barrier that might hinder global interaction. 

There are, of course, several other types of interpretation that hail down from simultaneous and consecutive interpretations, all of which can be customized to fit multiple industries. 

Interpreters VS Translators: What is the Difference in Terms of Skills?

If interpretation is a subgenre of translation, aside from the mediums and types, what makes interpreters and translators so different? 

Another main distinction between the two jobs lies in the set of skills an individual has to offer to be one of both. 

First, let us focus on some of the skills that make a translator who they are. 

  • Writing Skills: A translator’s strongest suit is their dexterity with written texts. They deal with words, sentences, and texts more than they do with actual people. 

As a result, they need to focus on increasing their knowledge of different writing styles, grammatical rules, and other writing-related details. 

  • Attention to Detail: While this skill is also required for an interpreter in some capacity, it is very much needed for a translator who is required to edit and proofread their translated content to improve its readability. 
  • Technical Proficiency: A translator’s sword and shield in the digital world are computer-assisted software tools. This is why they should have a knack for using technology effectively. 
  • Time Management: The translation process is a very taxing one. It is full of drafting, editing, and reviewing. A translator needs to be efficient in handling their tasks to meet deadlines without delay. 

On the other hand, interpreters represent a different breed when it comes to what skills they need. 

  • Listening Skills: Unlike traditional translators, an interpreter’s most valuable skill is their ability to listen closely and interpret right on the spot, without real second chances or proofreading phases. 

They need to be highly attentive so they won’t be the reason for any inconvenience during communication. 

  • Speaking Skills: The more fluent and native-like an interpreter is, the more successful they become. Interpreters need long hours of training to sharpen their speaking skills and lessen the likelihood of misunderstanding due to mispronunciation. 
  • Memory Retention: Of all interpreters, simultaneous interpreters need a strong short-term memory to retain and recall spoken information while interpreting. 
  • Quick Thinking: Rapid information processing is also required for an interpreter to quickly adapt to and solve any unforeseen problem. 
  • Interpersonal Skills: As opposed to translators, interpreters deal with people all the time. This demands high social skills to build rapport with speakers and listeners, facilitating communication between parties. 

There are also some essential skills that all language professionals must share in common to be more qualified. 

These essential skills include: 

  • Language Proficiency
  • Cultural Awareness 
  • Subject-Matter Expertise 
  • Ethical Standards 
  • Research Skills 

What are Translation Services and Interpretation Services?

Now that we are past the difference between interpreters vs. translators, let us talk about the professional services they are involved with. 

Translation services and interpretation services are language services provided by translation agencies. 

In exchange for an agreed-upon price, language service providers enable global organizations and individuals access to a diverse selection of linguists, helping them accomplish their goals anywhere worldwide. 

Translation services and interpretation services are tailor-made to serve any industry, by delivering translations and interpretations that respect each domain’s traditions and terminology and transcending any language barrier. 

Europe Localize: The Best Translation and Interpretation Service Provider in Town 

Europe Localize is one of the translation and interpretation pioneers in Europe. Our translation agency delivers language services to all corners of the world, offering quality, speed, and cost-effectiveness. 

We have a large network of translation and interpretation service professionals, boasting over 62K individuals who have high proficiency in as many as 260 languages

Our services are customized to help all industries with a track record of 100% success and satisfaction in all our previous projects. 

For over ten years, Europe Localize has been trusted by more than 16K international customers, including Amazon, Zoom, Google, Glooko, and Planmeca. 

Whether you need legal, medical, financial, entertainment, or engineering language services, Europe Localize has your back. 

Request our translation services and interpretation services today and receive a free quote.

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