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Translating, Interpreting, what is the difference?

  • Blog

If you are not familiar with the translation world, it is quite common for you to think that translation and interpretation is the same thing. Even though the preparation behind seems to be somehow similar, there is a world of a difference between the two. Translators’ work is limited to documents that are shared electronically or physically to them. When a translator is assigned a task, the delivery time is negotiated based on the length and urgency of the document, availability of the translator, format, specialization field, etc. When the job is being done, the translator works from an office, either at a company, agency, coworking space or even from the comfort of their home or wherever they may be. The characteristics of the translation process allows for the proofreading and revision of the work, and even the authors of the document being translated can later make changes to the information with few or none consequences, at least not at the time. Their responsibilities are enormous when dealing with confidential or critical documents that most of the times translates in money. Huge, right?


On the other hand, an interpreter does not have to deal with documents, although they can use them as a reference. These professionals are usually on the run and their work allows them to travel for work. It sounds fancy, bur their work is even more stressing since there is no proofreading or revision, and any mistake is noticed at the moment, there is no time to go back and correct any errors, so they should be fast and accurate. The art of interpreting is just as admirable as it is of translating. Listening to one person speak and repeating it at the same time in a different language is not easy and is mentally exhausting.


If you speak more than one language, try this small exercise, try to interpret a movie or series, or an Internet video, and see if you can last more than one minute (or even close to a minute) without making a mistake. Now, on top of that, add the fact that subject matters are very often specialized… oh, and did I mention they usually have large audiences listening to them all the while all this is happening?


So, I hope this gives you a better insight and understanding of the marvelous world of translation and interpretation and why we have selected the best professionals in both fields, so you do not have to worry about making a mistake in an important document or in front of a large audience.