Did you know it’s estimated that 60 to 75% of people around the world speak at least two languages? 

While not all of these folks may be fluent in their languages, being able to take the words of one language and apply meaning to them in a different language in a way people understand is an amazing task.

And, that’s exactly what interpreters and translators do. 

If you’re looking at translator vs. interpreter services and aren’t sure what the difference is, we are going to explore that here. Keep reading to learn what you should know. 

What Is a Translator? 

Translators take an original copy of something and change the text to be in a new language. This is done all while keeping the phrasing, the main message, and the target audience in mind.

One of the many benefits of translation is that there are many resources, including technology, that can be used to improve the translation.

Translator guides can use computerized tools to convert source language content into a specific file type. They then apply a translation memory to that content and then fill in the gaps.

This may sound like it makes the job a little bit easier, and it does. However, translators are typically working with long documents that can take a long time to complete.

What Is an Interpreter?

Interpretation is something that happens as a conversation is occurring. It is generally delivered right away without any help from scripts or reference materials. This is either in unison with the original speech or right after.

Professional interpreters have to be able to know and understand both languages at an expert level. They also have to be able to preserve the original meaning and rephrase any slang or colloquialisms, as well as cultural references, on a whim.

The key here is to make sure that the target audience, at the same moment, is able to understand what the original speech is saying. 

An interpreter guide has to rely on their own knowledge, experience, recollection, and reflexes. 

Translator vs. Interpreter: The Main Differences

The biggest difference between these two language professionals is that interpretation has to do with speech while translation has to do with text. 

Interpretation has to be immediate, but translation can take more time. Because interpreters have to act fast, they are also a little less accurate (in general) with their translation. Translators have more time to do research to make sure they are completely accurate in the text.

Interpreters also have to be expert-level fluent in both languages, while translators can rely on technology to transfer the source language into their target language and then use fluency in the target language to get the job done. 

Are You Looking for a Language Professional?

While both of these professions have similarities in terms of changing language into another language, they are still vastly different in their approach. If you’re looking at hiring a translator vs. interpreter, you need to consider the format, delivery, and direction of the message.

If you found this article helpful, take a look at more posts like it on our blog next. 

By Manali