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The Difference between an Interpreter and a Translator

In Blogby Rafael MorelLeave a Comment

Whether you’re a patient in a foreign hospital or a company expanding your business to the foreign market, you’ll need to communicate efficiently. Since learning the language yourself is not usually an option because it takes years to learn a new language, there is a high demand for interpretation services and the need for this service is expected to continue to grow.

Interpreters and translators are closely related but require very different skills, which is why professionals usually do one or the other but not both. The simple way to define the two is that translators work with text and interpreters work directly with people interpreting messages verbally. However, since you need to choose the right professional for job, you need a more in-depth understanding of what both professionals do to ensure you make the best choice for you needs.

Translation Services

Translation services require the professional to translate written text from one language to another. It requires good writing skills and the ability to do in-depth research to ensure complete accuracy. Most translators will only translate in one direction. For example, the translator will translate English documents into Spanish or Spanish into English but not both ways. Therefore, if you need both services, you’ll need two different translators. The reason is because the best translators will only translate the text into their native language. It’s faster and leaves less room for errors.

Interpretation Services

Interpretation services require the professional to interpret messages verbally as the speakers are talking. There are two main types of interpretation services, which are simultaneous and consecutive. They do require different skills but both types of interpretation services are fast-paced and require a lot of concentration. The interpreter must have the ability to think and react quickly. They must also have excellent public speaking and social skills, since they will be dealing with the speakers personally.

Unlike translators, interpreters go back and forth between both languages. For example, if you have a Spanish speaker and one that speaks English, the interpreter will listen to the Spanish speaker, interpret what he says and then repeat the process for the English speaker.

Both types of services require a love for language, a great deal of skill and knowledge of both languages and a good understanding of the cultures associated with the language being translated. Each professional will specialize in specific areas, which means they’ll have extensive knowledge of the industry they work in. In other words, you wouldn’t hire an interpreter to translate medical documents if he specializes in the legal or scientific fields.

In some cases, you may need more than one type of service, which is when you need to hire a company that specializes in interpretation services. Say for example, your company is doing business with a foreign client. You’ll need an interpreter to convey your messages clearly and accurately but you’ll also need a translator to sort through and translate all of the documents. When you hire a reputable interpretation service, they’ll have experienced professionals to handle all of your needs.

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