What is the difference between language translation and interpretation?

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People often tend to confuse translation and interpretation. For them, a translator is an interpreter and vice versa. But if we look a little at the question, we realize that these are two very distinct professions not to be confused.

Translator: mastering the codes of writing

The translator’s mission is to produce a written translation of an original document. He mainly works from a foreign language to his mother tongue. The work of analysis, research, and verification are important. It is a long and meticulous activity during which the dictionary becomes essential. Checking the correctness of the use of a word is just as important as working out suitable sentences.

The translator must, in fact, focus on a transposition that respects the content (the content) as much as the form (the type of document). He can work from a written text but also from other media such as voice or audiovisual recordings.

In translation, the translator will, therefore, deal with written or audio / video documents, but he will not have to speak. A good mastery of writing is the key element of this profession. He will have to use a context to do research according to the theme of his document. He is given more or less short deadlines but still has time to soak up the document. It is gymnastics totally different from that of interpretation. It is, therefore, very rare that a person has the capacity to be a good translator and a good interpreter. Fluency in foreign languages ​​and the idea of ​​translating a message are the only points in common between these two professions.

Interpreter: the art of translating live

Unlike the translator, the interpreter focuses on the translation of the spoken language. The interpreter makes communication possible. It serves as a bridge between people of different languages ​​and cultures.

The challenge for the interpreter is to be able to reproduce immediately and without preparing speeches or conversations. He must be very responsive to produce almost simultaneous oral translations. Two types of interpretation are to be distinguished; one is a simultaneous interpretation, which is a direct and immediate transposition of oral speech, while the other, a consecutive interpretation which allows the interpreter to assimilate the oral speech first and then to transfer it.

Note that there are specific forms of interpretation, such as judicial interpretation and sign language interpretation.

Whether the professional is a translator or an interpreter, he is above all a language expert. He enjoys playing with the meaning of words as much as he is passionate about the cultures of the languages ​​he masters. And her curiosity and openness allow her to maintain the level of her expertise.

In interpretation, you have to be very comfortable speaking and know how to express yourself correctly, which a translator is not necessarily able to do. This job is much more demanding, and it is for this reason that the interpreters, in particular in simultaneous interpretation are two, in order to alternate speaking (generally every fifteen minutes, see half an hour). You must also be comfortable not only in your mother tongue but also have a perfect command of the target language because there is no margin for error, especially in the case of legal interpretation. It can be very expensive. In interpretation, you have to be very quick and concise. The message must summarize the main idea expressed by the person speaking, and this, adapted in the language of the person who will receive the message.

In short, between translation and interpretation;

Their common point: the role of the translator as much as the interpreter is to translate a foreign language into their mother tongue. Both the translator and the interpreter must be fluent in at least two languages.

Their main difference: the translator mainly focuses on written translation while the interpreter works on oral translation.

It is generally after having tested the two trades that you know which one you are most comfortable with. It is important to try them both because a translator can prove to be an excellent interpreter without knowing it. It all depends on his ability to transcribe a message orally, clearly and concisely, in a very limited period of time. Both trades suffer, however, because they are not really recognized. Anyone can improvise as a translator or interpreter, on the pretext that he speaks two languages, while these professions obviously require both a certain level of study in order to acquire method, technique, and rigor.

At Chatlas, we can also do interpretation work as well as the translation. Whether to translate or interpret, you must master both languages ​​and two cultures in a professional manner. And here at Chatlas, we have the number of professionals you need for either service you may need. We are just a contact away!

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