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The Difference Between an Interpreter and a Translator

Difference Between an Interpreter and a Translator

There is one quite distinct difference between the translator and interpreter. A translator is responsible for translating text, while an interpreter’s role is to translate the spoken word in a live context. There is one quite distinct difference between the translator and interpreter. A translator is responsible for translating text, while an interpreter’s role is to translate the spoken word in a live context.

There are other differences of translator versus interpreter, including the following.

● An interpreter is typically paid on either an hourly or daily basis, while a translator tends to set a rate based on the word or page, or sometimes by the hour.

● An interpreter could be asked to interpret both to and from his or her mother tongue as this is often required in certain environments such as schools, hospitals,  police stations and courts of law, while a translator concentrates more on translating to his or her mother tongue.

● An interpreter doesn’t have as much time to do the job as a translator, as the message is required on the spot while discourse is taking place. This is called simultaneous translating. A translator has more time so can use dictionaries and glossaries to help determine if the translation is correct.

● An interpreter needs to know the language very well as there is no time to use any computer technology whereas a  translator has access to Assisted Translation or  Computer Aided tools (CAT) in the form of a dictionary and computer.

As well as the difference between translator and interpreter there are similarities such as the following:

● interpreters and translators both work with a source language and a target language.
● both the two skill sets extract messages from the source language and present it into the targeted language.
● both the translator and interpreter are linguists.
● they both need to be professionally qualified to be considered skilled enough to do their respective jobs.

The sorts of jobs vary considerably between an interpreter versus a translator. An interpreter could convey the translation of a conversation either directly through online communication tools like Skype and WhatsApp or through a standard telephone conversation which has a speaker attached to enhance the volume of the communication. They can also be asked to go to a venue such as a hospital, school or courthouse where the interpretation takes place in face to face situations. This differs somewhat from the role of a translator who can sit comfortably at home with all the computerized translation tools accessible and with email contact with the client seeking the translation.

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