Translation vs. Interpretation

October 15, 2015

Sometimes people tend to refer to interpreters as translators and that is because they are not always aware of the differences between the two professions. In this blog, I will go through some of the biggest differences between interpreters and translators.

Interpreter vs. Translator

 

GPI_Translation_Interpretation_homeBoth interpreters and translators convey messages from one language to another, but interpreters work with spoken words in a particular context, and translators transfer written text from one language to another.

 

Interpretation is spoken and can be divided into 3 categories:

 

  • Simultaneous: the interpreter hears the message and delivers it through a microphone connected to other headsets which allows the audience to hear the message in their own language.

 

  • Consecutive: after the speaker finishes a sentence the interpreter delivers it in the requested language, it is used in business meetings, or even when heads of states meet and they don't speak the same language so they require the services of an interpreter. No equipment is required for this.

 

  • Chuchotage: (or whispering) this happens in small groups during business meetings and small conferences where the interpreters gather a small group and whisper the message at the same time it is being delivered by the speaker. No equipment is needed.

 

A major constraint is often the extreme speed at which the interpreter receives, understands, manages, reconstructs the message and conveys it in a different language. A translator may be able to translate 2000-3000 words a day, while an interpreter will probable do around 150 words a minute.

 

Translation, on the other hand, is written, which allows translators to spend a long time working on one text. Interpreters, often work in a team of two in one cabin or translation booth and are faced with people speaking and communicating simultaneously.

Conference Interpreting

 

Interpreters have always been involved in the development of international trade and cultural exchanges. Interpreters participate in international summits and meetings with heads of states and governments so it's extremely important to have a high level of focus and concern for confidentiality.

Summary

 

Interpretation and translation are two terms that are used interchangeably. However, they are not synonyms. Interpretation is spoken and categorized as consecutive, simultaneous or chuchotage, and translation is written.

Translation and Localization Resources

 

You may gain further insight into global e-business, global SEO, website translation and country specific cultural facts and related topics by reviewing some previous blogs written by GPI:

 

 

Please feel free to contact GPI at info@globalizationpartners.com with any questions about our translation services.  Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in future blogs. You may also request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects as well.

Category:
Language Translation Facts
Tags:
translation, interpretation, translation vs. interpretation, interpreters

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Comments

  • Veronica BarzelattoOn Oct 19, Veronica Barzelatto said:
    This was a good article. I would however, like to add or clarify something regarding consecutive interpretation. Real consecutive interpretation encompasses many interpreting skills and is deemed far more difficult than simultaneous by some conference interpreters.. It is usually far more than one sentence and can mean several minutes iof note taking, before the interpreter delivers his or her rendition. It requires excellent concentration and memory skills, along with a well developed system of note taking. Very good consecutive interpreters make it look simple, but it is arduos focus and effort. I have presenced the work of magicians in this modality, sometimes waiting 20 minutes before delivering what was said and not miss any key concepts.
    I only mention this lest anyone think of consecutive as easy!
  • Veronica BarzelattoOn Oct 19, Veronica Barzelatto said:
    This was a good article. I would however, like to add or clarify something regarding consecutive interpretation. Real consecutive interpretation encompasses many interpreting skills and is deemed far more difficult than simultaneous by some conference interpreters.. It is usually far more than one sentence and can mean several minutes iof note taking, before the interpreter delivers his or her rendition. It requires excellent concentration and memory skills, along with a well developed system of note taking. Very good consecutive interpreters make it look simple, but it is arduos focus and effort. I have presenced the work of magicians in this modality, sometimes waiting 20 minutes before delivering what was said and not miss any key concepts.
    I only mention this lest anyone think of consecutive as easy!
  • Heba NadyOn Oct 20, Heba Nady said:
    Dear Veronica, Thank You for your comment I totally agree with you. The process actually is much more complicated and I could elaborate more on that as it is a 6 step process happening at the same time: so the interpreter listens to the speaker delivering the message in the source language understands it translate it search for the word in the target language, select the best that suits the context and delivers ... All that within 1 or 2 seconds
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Marina is a native Spanish speaker from Rosario, Argentina with over 15 years’ experience as a certified English-Spanish translator and interpreter. She graduated with a dual degree in Technical-Scientific and Literary Translation and Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpreting from the Instituto de Educación Superior Olga Cossettini in Rosario. She has extensive experience with most well known CAT tools including the range of SDL tools such as SDL Trados Studio, MultiTerm, Wordfast, SDL Idiom WorldServer, Translation Workspace, XBench, etc. She has also served as a CAT Tool Instructor conducting an average of 50 courses and workshops for many associations, private institutes and conferences. Over the years she has provided Spanish language translation and interpreting for a multitude of translation agencies, Global Fortune 500 companies, Governments and NGO’s. When not working she enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and movies with her family.