Difference Between Translator and Interpreter (With Table)

Many people have a perception that translator and interpreter are the different terms used for a single working professional who works on translating different languages. Though this belief is partly true this is not as simple as this. There are some differences between a translator and an interpreter if you dig a little deeper.

Translator vs Interpreter

The difference between translator and interpreter is that translator refers to a linguist whose work is to convert a written text from one language to another target language. On the other hand, an interpreter refers to a person whose work is to convert oral messages from one source language to another and vice versa.

The translator is the person who converts the written word from one language to another target language. The main goal of a translator is to ensure that the translation properly presents the concept of the original version. For this, the translator needs to have equal efficiency in both the source and target language.

The interpreter is the person who converts oral messages from one source language to another target language. They work with the spoken words and they interpret oral messages from one language to another on the spot. The process of interpretation may occur by phone, via video call, or in person. Interpretation needs a lower accuracy level of translation.

Comparison Table Between Translator and Interpreter

Parameters of ComparisonTranslatorInterpreter
DefinitionA translator refers to the person whose job is to convert written words from a source language to another target language.     Interpreter refers to the person whose job is to translate oral messages from one language to another language on the spot.
SkillsA translator needs to have good writing skills as their main aim is to translate a written document to another written document in an accurate, error-free, and smooth way.  An interpreter needs to have excellent public speaking and listening abilities as they listen to the speaker and translate the message on the spot. 
AccuracyA translator is given a fixed time to translate a source file. They can review and edit their work and can get the help of the dictionary, proofreaders, and editors to improve their work. As a result, the final work of a translator always remains highly accurate. An interpreter needs to interpret on the spot. There is no time to improvise. They usually translate the core thought of the source in their way. So, in this case, the accuracy level is low.
Associate tools A translator can use computer-assisted tools for translation. They also can use reference materials and dictionaries to improve their translation.An interpreter can just use note-taking audio equipment, other than that they completely depend on their own skill.
DirectionsGenerally, a translator works in only one direction- they only translate into their own mother tongue. An interpreter needs to be fluent in both the target and the source language. They work in a two-direction way.

What is Translator?

The translator is the person who converts written words from one source language to another target language. They aid communication by translating information from one source language to another target language. 

The main goal of a translator is to present a translation that clearly represents the original source material. For this, a translator needs to be capable of writing properly for keeping the facts and ideas of the original accurate in the translation. A translator can use computer-assisted tools for translation. They also can use reference materials and dictionaries to improve their translation.

A translator needs to have good writing skills as their main aim is to translate a written document to another written document in an accurate, error-free, and smooth way. A translator is given a fixed time to translate a source file. They can review and edit their work and can get the help of the dictionary, proofreaders, and editors to improve their work. As a result, the final work of a translator always remains highly accurate. 

A translator needs to read the original source language fluently, but need not speak the source language fluently. Generally, a translator only speaks his/her native language. In most cases, translation can be conducted on a laptop or a computer, and they submit and receive their assignments through the internet. Translation can be done from home using a laptop or computer. 

What is Interpreter?

The interpreter is the person who converts oral messages from one source language to another target language orally. An interpreter needs to have excellent public speaking and listening abilities as they listen to the speaker and translate the message on the spot. The interpreter needs to interpret on the spot. There is no time to improvise. 

They usually translate the core thought of the source in their way. So, in this case, the accuracy level is low. An interpreter can just use note-taking audio equipment, other than that they completely depend on their own skill. An interpreter needs to be fluent in both the target and the source language. They work in a two-direction way.

An interpreter plays a significant role in building communication between 2 or more persons who can’t speak and understand the same language. The main responsibility of an interpreter is to accurately convert a source language to another desired or target language. Interpreters generally translate oral messages on-spot, and sometimes remotely in real-time. 

In the modern world, an interpreter plays a significant role to fulfill the right of the people to understand and know every information. The progress of the world has influenced migration. In today’s world, people are moving from their native country to other countries for better opportunities. As a result, the role of an interpreter has been continuously growing in importance.

Main Differences Between Translator and Interpreter

  1. A translator refers to the person whose job is to convert written words from a source language to another target language. On the other hand, an interpreter refers to the person whose job is to translate oral messages from one language to another language on the spot.
  2. A translator needs to have good writing skills as their main aim is to translate a written document to another written document in an accurate, error-free, and smooth way. On the contrary, an interpreter needs to have excellent public speaking and listening abilities as they listen to the speaker and translate the message on the spot.
  3. A translator is given a fixed time to translate a source file. They can review and edit their work and can get the help of the dictionary, proofreaders, and editors to improve their work. As a result, the final work of a translator always remains highly accurate. An interpreter needs to interpret on the spot. There is no time to improvise. They usually translate the core thought of the source in their way. So, in this case, the accuracy level is low.
  4. A translator can use computer-assisted tools for translation. They also can use reference materials and dictionaries to improve their translation. An interpreter can just use note-taking audio equipment, other than that they completely depend on their own skill.
  5. Generally, a translator works in only one direction- they only translate into their own mother tongue. An interpreter needs to be fluent in both the target and the source language. They work in a two-direction way.

conclusion

Both translator and interpreter work with a source language and a target language and both of these professions can extract the core meaning from one language and convert it into another target language. Both the translator and interpreter work with languages and they are equally important in today’s world in business, education, public service, and so on.The difference between translator and interpreter is that translator refers to a linguist whose work is to convert a written text from one language to another target language. On the other hand, an interpreter refers to a person whose work is to convert oral messages from one source language to another and vice versa.

References

  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.21832/9781847692610/html
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/398141
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