Interpreters and Translators; What's the Difference?
While the terms "interpreter" and "translator" are
generally used interchangeably, they are actually two distinct professions.
While some professionals are able to both interpret and translate,
most do only one or the other because each requires a different skill
set to perform.
Simply stated, interpreting of language is done orally, while translation
of language is done in writing. If you are going to be having a conversation
with someone who speaks another language, then you need the services
of an interpreter. If you want to have a written document converted
language, then you need the services of a translator or software.
Interpreters are skilled at converting the spoken word from one language
into another. Therefore, an interpreter must be fluent in multiple languages;
both their primary language and a secondary language. The interpreter must
pay close attention to what is said by the speaker and at the same time understand
cultural differences enough to understand what the speaker meant to say as
well. The interpreter then relays what was said by the speaker to the listener
in the second language.
Many interpreters work in business, healthcare, social service, and courtroom
settings. Interpreters work in any setting where people are gathered that
speak two different languages and need to communicate with each other. Some
interpreters even work via the telephone. While it is always easier to interpret
in person, this is not always practical, so telephone interpreters are in
In contrast to interpreters, translators are skilled at converting written
text from one language into another. Translators work on documents which
can vary in size from a simple e-mail message to an entire book. Generally
a translator will read the material they will be translating and then sit
and translate it into the secondary language. Human translators must have
excellent writing and editing skills because their end-result documents should
always be as perfect as possible.
Translation involves a lot more than simply replacing a word in one language
with a word from another language. Translators must understand what was written
and manipulate sentences and ideas to ensure that the resulting document
conveys the same information as the source document did. Translators are
also tasked with understanding cultural differences and references and making
sure the new document is understood by the readers.
With the technological advances of our time, translation can now be accomplished
through software translation applications. Today's software translation
is both quick and fairly accurate. In fact, many human translators
are now using a software translator program first to obtain a rough
draft and then
edit the resulting text to fix anything which did not convert into
the second language correctly.
Generally, most interpreters and translators are self-employed and work
part-time. However, many also work as foreign language teachers as well to
allow them to keep their language skills fresh and to have a more steady
income. Compensation for interpretation and translation work is based both
on the setting and the language being translated.
With today's global economy the needs for interpretation and translation
are growing by leaps and bounds. And, as technology advances software
translation is getting more and more accurate and is becoming a viable
using human translation services. However, human translators will always
be required to check for accuracy of translations which cannot be ever
likely become fully automated due to the nuances and cultural aspects
Interpreting Software, The Future?
Technology keeps changing and probably in the near future translation software
will be referred to as interpreting software because it will be able
to translate orally as well as written text. With the advancements
in text to speech translation
on the horizon and the need for interpreting foreign languages expanding
daily, the demand has grown so fast that the real crisis is developing
the software fast enough for all the required languages.
See a complete line of software that can interpret foreign languages, Systran