The difference between translation and interpretation
To someone who is not familiar with linguistics and linguistic services, the differences between translation and interpretation may seem insignificant, but these two services are not interchangeable. Although they pertain to the same field, the two activities take place in different contexts and the professionals who do them, translators and interpreters, have different skills, training and qualifications. Understanding the difference between translation and interpretation services is essential for any c orporate client who wishes to hire them, so here is a parallel of what the two involve.
Translators – skills and services offered
Translators are skilled professionals who are able to understand a message written in a foreign language and then, using various helping tools such as dictionaries and glossaries, they render the message to the client’s language. The job of the translator is to convey the original meaning of the source text, following the grammar and style of the target language. Translations are done in writing and, in addition to native level language skills, translators also need to possess excellent intercultural competences. In the case of specialised translations, they also need to know specific terminology in addition to the foreign language. Thus, medical translators must know medical terms, legal translators must be familiar with legal notions and so on. Most professional translators specialise in one field only, or in two fields that are related. Companies can use translation services for various types of business documents, such as contracts, guides, employee files and reports. They can also hire them to translate a website or an ad to a different language. When hiring a translator for a certain job, you should always make sure that their specialty matches your field of activity. Otherwise, the translation will be inaccurate and your company’s reputation could be affected.
Interpreters – skills and services offered
Unlike translators, who have to render the meaning of the message in writing, interpreters have to do this orally. The interpreter creates a bridge between two parties who do not speak each other’s language, facilitating communication and collaboration. They have to translate messages on the spot, in real time, without consulting reference materials. Interpreters speak both the source and target language fluently and they need to have excellent listening and speaking skills. Natural communicators, they are able to understand culturally charged messages and convey them as naturally as possible within seconds. Interpreters are intuitive, flexible professionals who can work quickly under pressure. Besides, an interpreter must be sensitive to cultural differences in order to render diplomatically the intentions of the client, without causing misunderstandings and awkward situations. Just like translators, who specialise in a certain terminology, interpreters specialise in different fields. For example, you can hire an interpreter for a court meeting, business meeting, international conference or business trip. In general, interpreters meet with their clients face to face, but, in recent years, telephone interpretation services have become quite popular, so you can also hire them if you are having an important conversation with a business partner over the phone and you want to overcome the language barrier.