Difference between Translator and Interpreter

The terms “translator” and “interpreter” are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different professions that involve language services. While both translators and interpreters work with languages, their roles and methods of communication are different.

A translator is a professional who translates written text from one language to another. They work with written documents such as books, articles, legal contracts, websites, and more. Translators focus on accurately conveying the meaning, tone, and style of the source text into the target language. They must have excellent writing skills in both the source and target languages, as well as an in-depth understanding of the cultural nuances and context of the text.

On the other hand, an interpreter is a professional who provides oral translation services. Interpreters work in real-time, facilitating communication between people who speak different languages. They listen to the speaker in one language and then convey the message orally in another language. Interpreters need to have strong listening and speaking skills in both the source and target languages, as well as the ability to think quickly and accurately. They must also be familiar with the subject matter being discussed to ensure accurate interpretation.

There are various types of interpreting, each suited for different situations and settings. Here are three common types:

Face-to-Face Interpreting: This type of interpreting occurs in person, where the interpreter and the participants are physically present in the same location. Face-to-face interpreting is commonly used in conferences, meetings, legal proceedings, medical appointments, and other situations where direct interaction is required.

Telephone Interpreting: Telephone interpreting allows for quick and convenient access to interpretation services. In this type of interpreting, the interpreter facilitates communication between parties who are not in the same location by phone. Telephone interpreting is often used for business negotiations, customer service calls, and emergency situations where immediate interpretation is needed.

British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreting: BSL interpreting is a specialized form of interpreting that involves the use of sign language to facilitate communication for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. BSL interpreters translate spoken language into sign language and vice versa. They play a crucial role in enabling effective communication between deaf individuals and the hearing world in various settings, including educational institutions, medical appointments, job interviews, and public events.

In summary, translators primarily work with written text, ensuring accurate translation from one language to another, while interpreters facilitate oral communication in real-time. Interpreting can take place face-to-face, over the phone, or through sign language, depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the communication situation. Contact Silent Sounds today, and let our experienced team ensure seamless communication in any language, whether through translation, face-to-face interpreting, telephone services, or British Sign Language (BSL).