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The Difference Between a Translator and an Interpreter

March 14, 2018

The Work


A translator will focus on a written form of a language and translate this document to a target language. The document can be anything that is in written form such as a legal, medical or academic document, an email, newspaper/magazine article, website, novel, etc. The focus is to translate the text truly as it reflects the content, meaning and style of the original text and constitutes in every respect a correct and true translation of the original document.


Meanwhile, an interpreter will work with someone verbally. Whether it be in person, over the phone, skype, etc. Technology has brought a shift for this industry as interpreters and their clients are just a click away through virtual technology. This in turn helps advancement of globalization and better understanding between different cultures. The interpreter has to be fast thinking and very comfortable with the languages that are being spoken.  


The Method


The time it takes to either translate or interpret depends on the source. A translation can take from one day to a year, depending on the volume of words that are to go from translated language to the target language. With interpreting this is done in real time however it can be a minimum of two hours to weeks or months depending on the work. Interpreters can travel with you, they can interpret a meeting, a court case that can run for weeks or months.


Depending on the translator, there can be a different time frame of completing a job. Since translators have time to research and consult on their translation (depending on the source) they can look over what the final product will look like. Interpreters on the other hand have to do simultaneous translation and have very little time to think before they can translate. That is why having a professional interpreter is very important when trying to retain as much of the original spoken word and bringing about the cultural



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