The Difference Between Translation And Interpreting

Prestige Network Blog, Interpreting, Services, Translation


What is the difference between Translation and Interpreting?

Interpreting and translation are two closely related language disciplines, yet they are rarely performed by the same people.

On the surface, the difference between interpreting and translation is only the difference in the medium: interpreters speak (or sign), while a translators write.

Additionally, both interpreters and translators have a love of language and a deep knowledge of more than one language. However, the difference in skills, training, aptitude and even language knowledge are so substantial that few people can do both successfully on a professional level.

The Skill Profile of Translators

The key skills of the translator are the ability to understand the source language and the culture of the country where the text originated, then using a good library of dictionaries and reference materials, translate and deliver that material clearly and accurately into the target language.

In other words, while linguistic and cultural skills are still critical, the most important mark of a good translator is the ability to write well in the target language.

Even bilingual individuals can rarely express themselves in a given subject equally well in both languages, and many excellent translators are not fully bilingual to begin with.

The Skill Profile of Interpreters

Interpreting, just like translation, is fundamentally the art of paraphrasing – the interpreter listens to a speaker in one language, grasps the content of what is being said, and then paraphrases his or her understanding of the meaning using the tools of the target language.

However, just as you cannot explain a thought to someone if you did not fully understand that thought, neither can you translate or interpret something without mastery of the subject matter being relayed.

It simply cannot be overstated: when choosing an interpreter, his or her expert knowledge of the subject matter is equally as important as their interpreting experience.

An interpreter, on the other hand, must be able to translate verbally in both directions on the spot, without using dictionaries or other supplemental reference materials. Interpreters must have extraordinary listening abilities, especially for simultaneous interpreting.

Simultaneous/Conference interpreters need to process and memorize the words that the source-language speaker is saying while simultaneously outputting in the target language the translation of words the speaker said 5-10 seconds ago.

Interpreters must also possess excellent public speaking skills and the intellectual capacity to instantly transform, colloquialisms and other culturally-specific references into analogous statements the target audience will understand.

Why Choose Prestige Network for Translation and Interpreting?

With so many business opportunities opening up across the globe, translation and interpreting services are becoming more important than ever for companies wanting to open a business relationship.

Having 25 years of experience of working with both Commercial and Public Sector clients, Prestige Network would like to be a part of your planning and services for those important documents, telephone calls, conferences and one to one meetings.

Our core services include translation and interpreting, including event & conference interpreting services.

If we can help you with a current or future project, please feel free to contact us today for your free, no obligation quote.