by | Oct 16, 2020 | Blog, Interpreting, Translations

For some, translation and interpreting may be synonymous. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, translation and interpreting differ greatly from one another and we are here to outline how. 

Essentially, interpreters convey messages into another language orally, while translators do so through written word. 

Although both activities are related disciplines and necessitate in-depth linguistic, cultural and sector specific knowledge, they are rarely ever performed by the same people. Why is that? This is arguably because the skills and amount of language knowledge required differ more substantially than you may initially think. It takes a lot of training and experience to perform both disciplines successfully and professionally. The main difference lies with that translators are required to write well in the target language, meanwhile it is crucial that interpreters are able to speak well in both languages. 

The key skills of a translator include the ability to holistically understand the source document at a linguistic and cultural level. They must be avid researchers with a wealth of dictionaries, glossaries and references at their disposal. This is imperative in order to accurately transfer the messages from the source language into the target language. To ensure idiomaticity and a well written text, translators usually translate only into their native (mother or first) language so that they are able to produce documents that conform to the linguistic and cultural expectations of the target reader.

Interpreters, however, must be very well versed in both languages as they have to relay messages and information between speakers of different languages, that too in real time and without dictionaries. They need to have an incredible ability at listening to information in one language, and then outputting that same information in a different language. Memorisation, public speaking and being orally articulate are just some of the key skills that make up a successful interpreter. 

Amongst all the differences that lie between translation and interpreting, the common goal is to preserve the original meaning and intention of the source message. Additionally, the majority of idioms and colloquialisms are not universal, therefore, the ability to understand figurative speech and rephrase them accordingly is an absolute must. 

Translation and Interpreting are two terms which are often used interchangeably. So, even if you are still unsure as to which service you require, we, Easy Words, are here to provide expert advice and guide you through the various services that we offer. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at: