Difference between Translation and Interpretation

Published: 07th June 2011
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Over the past few years, the terms "Language Translation" and "Language Interpretation" have emerged as two of the busiest buzzwords in the Language Service Industry. Although they appear to be and are often mistaken to be synonyms, there are significant differences between translation and interpretation. The primary similarity between the two is that they are both modes of language conversion. Language Interpretation is essentially about spoken language. Language translation primarily deals with written text. Many people believe both tasks involve substituting words from one language to another. However, both Language Interpretation and Language Translation demand a meticulous knowledge of more than just the language itself. Importantly, both translation and interpretation have various cultural references and cultural nuances.

Along with converting one spoken language into another, Interpretation basically encompasses converting a spoken source language into spoken target language, and vice versa. Language Interpreters are required to be very attentive and excessively careful before they perform any interpretation task. They need to thoroughly understand what needs to be communicated and the context in which it’s being communicated in both the languages.

As Language Translators convert written material from a source language into another target language, excellent writing skills and analytical abilities are fundamental for successful translation . In addition, expert editing skills are critical for effective translation. Language Translation also involves replacement of words with more appropriate words in the other language. Those who offer translation services also manage the flow of ideas in the cultural context to ensure that the resulting document is the closest possible translation to the target language.

If one is considering making a profession in either of these fields, then it should be understood that both Interpretation and Translation language services demand a love of both languages. However, there is a difference in the set of aptitudes and the training needed for each job. Expertise in Language Interpretation demands extensive research, strong analytical skills, mental dexterity, and a fantastic memory. On the other hand, the key skill set needed to deliver Language Translation service is the ability to write well and express oneself clearly in the target language and the source language. This is why many professional translators prefer translating only into their native language. A rich library of dictionaries and reference materials are necessary for effective Interpretation and Translation.

Both Language Interpretation and Language Translation have become promising career options, especially as globalization continues. Internationally, there are a growing number of institutes which teach Professional Language translation and Professional Language Interpretation.

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