The difference between translation and interpretation


People often do not see the difference between translation and interpreting, and it is very significant, although both of these processes rely on translating text from one language to another.

Four differences between translation and interpretation:

1. Translation time
Interpretation is done on a regular basis - in the course of conversation, speech or discussion. We can interpret in person, but also over the phone or via television or a video recording. Translation usually takes place after the creation of the text. This gives you time to familiarize yourself with different materials which can be helpful during the translation process (such as dictionaries, glossaries) or you may consult the subject matter with experts and prepare the accurate text (e.g. The document, web page or help file).

2. Accuracy
Translation and interpretation require a different level of accuracy. Although, interpreters are trying to be the most thorough, it is very difficult to simultaneous interpret in real time and sometimes they skip the details of the speech. It’s a different story in the case of translators. Before taking the job have the time to check each word. This allows them to authentically render the original content.

3. Fluency and the direction of translation
The interpreter must know the source and target language fluently enough to translate in real time in both directions without the use of helpful materials. Interpreters are people with excellent qualifications, and their work is very demanding. For this reason, interpreters  work in pairs and must change every 20 minutes – they can’t be fatigued . Typically, a professional translator translates only to one language - their native language. For this reason, a translator doesn’t have to know the source language as fluently as interpreter. However, he should perfectly understand and know the culture of the country and its existing linguistic norms. Such knowledge can guarantee a very good quality of translation.

4. Linguistic and stylistic nuances
Both interpreters and translators must be aware of the need of creating metaphors, analogies and idioms in the target language, which will be fully understood by the audience and tailored to the target language. Interpreters must also pay attention to the tone and quality of voice modulation, as well as many other aspects of a spoken language to be provided to the recipient in an appropriate manner. Skills that must be mastered by translators and interpreters, are different, but they both share their knowledge with those who without them would not be able to understand the information provided.