Differences between translators and interpreters

Translation and interpreting; although closely related language services, are rarely preformed by the same person. As translation focuses on conveying written text, interpreting covers the spoken word, and so the key difference lies in the medium, the contrast in skills required is so considerable that only few people can successfully perform both services at a professional level.



interpreting and translating differences


Skills required by translators & interpreters

The differences in skills required between translators and interpreters are much greater than the similarities. A professional translator is often required to have an in-depth knowledge not only of the source and target languages, but also of the cultures, customs and even socio-political aspects and current affairs, factors which may directly affect the accuracy of a translation and it’s suitability for the target audience. A good professional translator will also have impeccable writing skills, which allow them to convey the intended message clearly in the target language. Translators may often also be required not only to translate, but to trans-create a message, especially when translating marketing materials. Consequently, creativity can be an important skill required to complete a project.

Interpreters, on the other hand, who deal with conveying the spoken word, must be able to interpret a message in ‘real-time’, without any support from dictionaries or other literature. As a result their listening skills must be flawless. Simultaneous interpreting is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks to perform within the language services sector, as it requires interpreters to process  the information being said, while conveying information said 5-10 seconds before, as you can imagine this requires extreme focus. In addition, professional interpreters must also have outstanding public speaking skills and the intellectual capacity to instantly transform idioms, humour, colloquialisms and other messages into analogous statements the target audience will understand and which will be culturally suitable.

Qualifications of translators and interpreters

Translating a text document and interpreting are language services which require excellent linguistic skills and an in-depth knowledge of a subject/sector covered. Here, at Translation Services 24 we only work with the most talented linguists who are officially registered and have at least 4 years’ experience in the translation sector and who are able to provide certified translations. This allows us to guarantee highest possible quality and accuracy regardless of project or language. As an agency we also make sure that our client’s materials are always translated or interpreted by a native speaker of the target language, as this ensures socio-cultural suitability.

Get in touch

Whether you require a professional translator or an experienced interpreter, contact us on info@translationservices24.com and we will get back to you shortly. Alternatively, call +44 (0) 20 8677 3775 to discuss your requirements with one of our account managers over the phone.