Interpreting and translation are two professions that form part of the vast field of multilingual communication. But what are their similarities and what sets them apart? Here we will look at these two linguistic disciplines, which are indispensable in many situations.
Interpretation: what is it and when is it used?
Interpretation is frequently used at conferences, business meetings, professional gatherings, and other events where exchanges take place in several languages. It is a service provided by a professional interpreter, trained in the various interpreting techniques.
The different types of interpretation
In general, the three most common interpretation types are:
- Simultaneous interpreting: the interpreter provides interpreting simultaneously, usually using special equipment (headphones and a microphone). Carried out at the same time as the person speaking, this type of interpreting is commonly used for conferences in a foreign language, international meetings, live televised events, etc.
- Consecutive interpreting: the interpreter translates the speech at the end of the conversation thanks to extensive notetaking. Consecutive interpreting is frequently used for business meetings, negotiations, and debates, and when simultaneous interpreting is not possible.
- Liaison interpreting: this aids communication between people who do not speak the same language. The speakers must pause to give the interpreter time to translate the content of the conversation. This mode of interpreting is generally preferred for transactions involving small groups.
When should you use an interpreter?
Interpreting is necessary when one or more people speak in a language that differs from that of the other participants. The services of an interpreter can be indispensable in many situations, whether in a business context, at a sporting, cultural or artistic event, or for a court hearing for example.
How do you choose an interpreter?
You should choose a top-quality interpreter to ensure that the various speakers involved in the service understand what is being said. To choose the right interpreter, you need to consider the following:
- Their linguistic skills in the source language and in the target language.
- Experience in the relevant field of expertise (medical, legal, scientific, commercial, etc.). This is a key factor in guaranteeing the quality of your work.
- Their references and online reviews.
- Their knowledge of the cultural context of the language, which is necessary for good interpreting.
- The type of interpreting they specialize in (liaison interpreting, consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting).
- The type of service required: in-person interpreting, telephone interpreting or remote interpreting.
- The rates the interpreter offers for their work.
Translation: what is it and when is it needed?
Translation involves transforming content from a source language into a target language, while preserving the meaning and tone of the original text. It can be needed for all types of written documents, audio and video files, books, websites, and many other types of media.
The different types of translation
There are many different types of translation. Here are some examples of translation services offered by Alphatrad:
- Technical translation: this is aimed at content with specific terminology, linked, for example, to the engineering, aeronautics, or IT etc. This type of specialist translation requires a very good knowledge of the subject matter and the associated vocabulary, to preserve the meaning of the source text once it has been translated into the target language.
- Legal translation: this covers texts of a legal nature, such as administrative documents, contracts, and judgements, and involves the use of precise legal terminology.
- Medical translation: this refers specifically to medical or pharmaceutical fields. It requires great care on the part of the professional translator, who must have expertise in the field.
- Financial translation: financial translation requires an excellent knowledge of the world of finance. This includes translating accounting documents, company annual reports and financial contracts.
- Certified translation: also known as sworn translation, is carried out by an official translator or translation agency (depending on the country).
- Website translation: many websites aimed at an international audience require translation into the language of their potential customers. The translation must consider the SEO requirements of the target market and the particularities of web writing.
When should I use a translator?
A translator is needed to translate content from a source language into a target language accurately and professionally. This is the case for translations of official and legal documents (legal agreements, birth certificates, citizenship documents, licences, etc.), usually conducted by sworn translators. International companies also use the services of a translator to translate websites, communication materials or commercial documents.
How do you choose a translator?
To choose the right translator, you first need to look at what you need to be translated (marketing materials, editorial content, official documents, etc.) and select a professional based on their area of expertise. In addition to mastering the source and target languages, the translator's level of experience should also be considered.
You should also look at customer reviews to assess the quality of the translator's work. Finally, the translator must be able to guarantee the confidentiality of your documents, particularly if they contain sensitive information.
What are the differences between translation and interpretation?
Translation and interpretation are two distinct processes.
Interpretation focuses primarily on oral communication. Interpreters must process and render speech quickly and accurately, which requires skills such as active listening, and an exceptionally good memory. There are various forms of interpreting, including simultaneous translation (in real time), consecutive interpreting (after the conversation), and more specialist forms such as liaison interpreting (suitable for small group conversations).
Translations focus on written documents such as articles, books, agreements, websites, and administrative documents etc. Unlike interpreters, translators have the advantage of being able to devote more time to their translation, to achieve a precise result. They must therefore have an exceptional command of both languages in writing, as well as being extremely thorough and meticulous.
Using Alphatrad for interpretation and translation services
Alphatrad can provide you with approximately 3,500 experienced translators and interpreters. In addition to their solid expertise and unfailing professionalism, they ensure that the work is confidential and delivered on time. As a result, we can offer translation and interpreting services in over 100 languages, from the most common (French to English, English to Arabic, English to Italian, etc.) to the rarest (Lithuanian, Catalan, Slovenian, etc.).
and receive an answer within a few hours
- Choose the service you require
- Get a quote
- Confirm and receive your order
FAQ about differences and similarities between interpretation and translation
Both professions require language skills, but translation focuses on written texts, whereas interpreting live focuses on oral communication. Translation and interpreting are therefore very different areas of expertise, requiring specific skills.
A translator/interpreter is a professional qualified in both translation and interpreting. This dual expertise enables them to translate written texts and interpret spoken exchanges in real time. These versatile experts tailor their services to customers’ specific needs.
The average monthly salary for a translator and interpreter in the UK is £2,035. The amount varies according to the professional's level of qualification, the foreign languages they have mastered, and their area of expertise: conference translator-interpreter, sworn translator-interpreter, technical translator-interpreter, etc.
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