The Differences Between Interpreting and Translation

Both interpreting and translating are forms of language study that are intimately connected to one another. Despite this, they are rarely carried out by the same individuals. Because there is such a significant gap between the two in terms of abilities, training, aptitude, and even language knowledge, very few people are able to do both successfully at a professional level.

On the surface, the only difference between interpreting and translating is the medium that is being interpreted. The interpreting services will translate verbally, while a translator will interpret written language. Both interpretation and translating require a significant level of fluency for more than one language in addition to a passion for the English language.


The Skill Profile of Those Who Translate Technical Documents

It is arguable that the disparities in their abilities are significantly greater than the similarities. The ability to comprehend the culture of the nation from which the text originated as well as the source language is one of the most important skills for a translator. Another important skill is having a large collection of dictionaries and other reference materials, which allows the translator to accurately and clearly render the source material into target language. To put it another way, despite the fact that linguistic and cultural knowledge are still very important, the ability to communicate well in the chosen language is the single most crucial trait of a professional translator.

Even those who are totally multilingual have a difficult time expressing themselves in both languages with the same level of fluency over a particular topic, and many people who are outstanding translators are not fully bilingual to begin with. A skilled translator will never convert papers into a language other than his or her mother tongue since they are aware of this constraint. Because of this, here at Language Scientific, we have a strict requirement that all of our technical translation services only translate to their mother tongue, in addition to having extensive knowledge of the subject area.

On the other hand, an interpreter needs to be able to translate between both directions instantly, without having to rely on dictionaries or any other additional reference resources. In order to be a successful professional language interpreter, exceptional listening skills are required, particularly for simultaneous interpreting. The interpreter of a simultaneous conversation must be able to comprehend and commit to memory the words that the speaker of the source language is currently uttering, all while simultaneously producing in the chosen language the translation of the words that the speaker uttered five to ten seconds ago. Interpreters are required to possess not just exceptional public speaking skills but also the intellectual capacity to instantaneously turn idioms, colloquialisms, and other culturally particular references into equivalent statements that the audience in question would understand.


Interpreter Qualifications

In the same way that translation services are fundamentally the art of paraphrasing, interpreting is also fundamentally the art of paraphrasing. An interpreter listens to a speaker in one language, comprehends the content of what is being said, and then paraphrases his and her understanding of the meaning by using tools of the target language. However, just as you cannot thoroughly explain a notion to another person if you do not fully comprehend that thought yourself, you cannot translate as well as interpret something if you do not have a firm grasp of the subject matter that is being communicated.