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Translators vs. Interpreters: The Difference Explained

By Melia Yanat, Lingolet Team

Translators vs. Interpreters: The Difference Explained

Translation and interpretation are two very different concepts, but it is easy to confuse the two. In this article, Lingolet explains the difference between a translator and an interpreter.

What is a translator?

Translators work with a text. They work with various media, such as official documents, letters, or instructions for use.

Translating requires patience and a lot of research work. The translator must have excellent writing and language skills.

There are many types of translators. For example, translators specialized in medicine or finance.

Knowing languages, even being bilingual, is not enough. The social and cultural context in which these languages are spoken is taken into account.

Indeed, a well-translated text is one that does not "feel" the translation.

In short, to translate is to transcribe a written text from one language to another.

What is an interpreter ?

The interpreter translates orally. Their task is to orally transfer an oral speech from a source language into a target language.

Different from the translator's job, the interpreter's job is more complicated. It requires many skills and qualities.

In the interpreter's training program, the future professional train to instantly understand and analyze an oral text, organize his or her speech, and render it orally in the target language. The interpreter must make a decision spontaneously and quickly and work under pressure (medical and legal interpreting).

Interpreting makes communication possible between people of different languages and cultures.

There is a distinction between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. Simultaneous interpreting is a direct and immediate transfer of oral speech, whereas consecutive interpreting is a process where the interpreter first assimilates the content and then transfers it.

Lingolet allows you to get a qualified interpreter in less than 30 seconds.


Are You Looking for a Medical Interpretation Solution?

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Learn more about medical translation: 


  • Why are medical translation errors unacceptable, and how can they be avoided

  • Is there a difference in medical language between Quebec French and French from France?

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