A Translator Vs. An Interpreter in 2019

Although translation and interpretation seem quite similar, each requires different and unique set of skills.

The Difference between a Language Interpreter and a Translator

Both the interpreter and translator need to be aware of the culture of the source and target language in order to convey information properly.

However, interpretation deems the linguist to be professional in regards to certain skills that facilitate real-time oral translation; and the same goes for translating written texts, with difference in the needed skills. 

Each linguistic field has its uses. In order to fully comprehend the difference between an interpreter and a translator, you must learn about their profession:

What Does a Translator Do? 

A translator is someone who is fully equipped to transfer meaning from a text in the source language to the proper written form in the target language. In order to achieve such objective, the translator needs to be aware of both cultures, with adequate writing skills in the target language, so as to apply the dictionary that is most befitting the meaning in the source language. 

Most professional translators prefer to translate into their native tongue, as they command better writing skills in that language. However, depending on the text, the translator needs to acquire certain dictionaries: if the text is considered a medical paper, the translator needs to have proper knowledge of such specific terminology in the source language in order to comprehend its meaning and translate it into the target language. Reference materials are usually needed in such context. 

It’s wise to choose a translator depending on the nature of your text. If you require literary translation, you should look for a translator who specializes in that area, and so on. 

What Does a Language Interpreter Do?

When it comes to interpretation, it is rather an oral form of translating a text. The interpreter utters a real-time translation in a language while hearing a different one. It is widely used in conference rooms, face-to-face communication, over the phone interpreting between several parties or personal translation. 

Simply, the interpreter listens to what is being said in the source language, comprehends the meaning, and offers on the spot translation in the target language according to his understanding of the information being conveyed. Interpretation requires high command of both the source and target language without having any support from reference materials. The interpreter needs to have high understanding of the subject area, so they may not convey an improper meaning in the target language. 

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