The difference between a translator and an interpreter

Up to a certain point, translators and interpreters share the same goal. They have to take a message from language A and transfer it to language B. But, when you go deeper into the subject, you soon discover there are a lot of differences between these two positions.

Why should you be concerned about these differences? Well, it really depends on what you need. You may think these two jobs overlap, but a translator may not be able to handle the tasks of an interpreter and vice versa.

Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between a translator and an interpreter!

What does a translator do?

If you have a document of any kind (medical, legal, marketing materials, etc.) that needs to be translated from Italian into English, then you need an Italian translator.

Translators essentially handle the written word. They take a piece of text and bring it to the language you need in such a way that not only the general message of the text is conveyed, but the particularities remain as close as possible.

Just think of a legal document. You can’t just find the words that may be closest to the original version and hope for the best. The translated text needs to stand on its own, and hold the exact goal. A translator’s job is to take the original legal text and make sure it’s correct in Italian as well.

What does an interpreter do?

An interpreter handles the spoken word. They are the people you see in conferences speaking to politicians and translating in real-time someone else’s speech. Their job is to make sure the client can effectively communicate in real-time with people, even though they are not speaking the same language.

It’s a skill one develops over time because interpreters not only are fluent in their own language but also have to quickly convey the accurate message in the client’s language. Interpreters don’t have the luxury of checking the dictionary every time they are stuck on a phrase or a word. They can sometimes rely on context to understand the message.

Who should you choose then?

It’s simple: if you are in need of the translation of documents, then you need a certified translator. If you need someone to translate in real-time like during a meeting with foreign clients, then you need an interpreter.

Just make sure you work with the right people. Translation and interpretation alike are extremely complex processes and not everyone can handle them correctly. The more important the task is, such as translating official documents or interpreting a really important meeting, the more you have to be careful to work with someone with enough experience. Because mistakes, even tiny ones, can cost you.

If you have a document you need translating from English to Italian and want someone who can do the job right, I can help. As a certified Italian translator, I can provide high-quality services to you and your business.

Share
go top