If you want your business succeed globally in this competitive years, it must be able to communicate not only locally but also internationally. This sometimes requires you to utilize translation and interpretation services dealing with the target market’s language. However, the term translation and interpretation is often interchangeable, so is the term translator and interpreter.

Though translation and interpretation seem similar, they are different. Simply, if translation is different from interpretation, the translator must be exactly different from interpreter as well. You might not take this into a serious discussion. However, when you are applying for the job position of translator or interpreter, you should know that they are different.

So let’s learn the key differences between translator and interpreter so that you won’t face the problem when you have to go with it. Prior to this topic, it is essential to know the basic definition of both translator and interpreter. Later, we also include some other related information about interpretation that you might need to know more.

Definition of Translator

It is probable that the most visible difference between translator and interpreter is the fact that the most professional translator usually works on translating with the aid of computer-based tools or software. This utilization involves converting the source content into a certain file type which is easy to work with and applying a translation memory to the text to automatically translate the text using the tools. As a result, the translation is done easily and automatically. This way, the translator needs only to review the text based on the context. To ensure the qualities, the translator can adopt the translation style guide templates and finally pass the proofreading phases to create a written document in its original format.

Most of the translators work on any written-based information fields such as websites, blogs, print, video subtitles, multimedia and software.

Definition of Interpreter

Slightly different from translator, interpreter works in the moment. It delivers live interpreting simultaneously or immediately after the original speech delivered. In this case, an interpreter works without any aid of scripts, dictionaries or other reference materials.

Some professional interpreters transfer the source language based on the context, representing its original meaning by using idioms, colloquialism and other culturally specific reference to enable the target audience to understand. The only resources that an interpreter must have are including the experiences, a good memory and a quick reflexes.

Keep in mind that an interpreter works on projects that involves translating such as conferences, meetings, medical appointments, live TV coverage, sign language and legal proceedings.

Which Service Will You Need?

Knowing the differences between translator and interpreter in general, now you can spring your mind about which service you will probably need, translation service or interpretation service and which job position that suit your capability, a translator or an interpreter.

Key Differences Between Translator and Interpreter

To provide you with the clear and definite information, here are the 5 major and key differences between translator and interpreter.


Simply to understand, interpreter works on spoken language in a real time while translator works on text-based resource. Interpreter is speaking without any additional tools to assist in interpreting while translator is writing assisted by the specific software.


Interpreter works on the spot, meaning that it happens in person, over the phone, or through videos. On the other hand, a translator works long after getting the source text. Translators have time to optimize the use of translation software as one of the technologies and other reference materials so that they can generate the most accurate and high quality of translations.


The next differences between translator and interpreter is the accuracy. Compared to translator, an interpreter delivers a lower level of interpretation. However, an interpreter must have a more challenging skill due to the fact that he/she must achieve in a live setting where a speech must be left out of the target language. On the other hand, a translator can do reviewing and editing the written text for more accuracy. Remember, a translator can utilize the software to ensure the best result of translation.


Interpreters must have a higher level of language fluency than the translators. This is because interpreters are required to both translate and interpret without any help of reference materials. Thus, being an interpreter works for two directions. On the other hand, a translator works only in one direction that is his/her own mother tongue.


The last key difference between translator and interpreter is the involvements of making metaphors, analogies and idioms for the interpreters as well as translators to deal with the target audience. On the top of this, the interpreters work harder by paying attention to the tone, inflections, voice quality and other unique elements of the spoken language to convey the message to the audiences.

Now that we have enriched you with the information about the difference between translator and interpreter, we are sure that you are ready to explore more whether you need a translation service or interpretation service. Though both the translators and interpreters share the similar respective competencies, a language service provider is able to relate your needs to skillful professionals to go on the project perfectly.

Simultaneous Interpretation

In addition to deeply understand either translator or interpreter, it is also essential to know simultaneously interpretation as one of the interpretation types. Simultaneously interpretation is also called conference interpreting. It includes the process of hearing, comprehending, interpreting and delivering the messages from what the speakers said. Later, the interpreter interpret the messages into the desired target language. For a large scale of conference, simultaneously interpretation is commonly used due to the large number of participants.

In this type of interpretation, simultaneously interpreter would typically sit in booth with microphone to accept input out of the speakers. In this case, the interpreter utilizes earphones. In the process of interpreting, the delegates will be able to listen to the interpreter’s utterance in their language with the portable receivers tuned into the specific language channels.

Simultaneously interpreters are usually required to have a higher skill of interpreting in order to relieve the exhaustion and stress due to the intense level of interpretation concentration. In this case, the interpreters must make sure that there will be no problem influencing the accuracy of interpretation.

To get the best result of interpretation especially for ONCALL conference, a special equipment of a third party package is added.

Consecutive Interpretation

Consecutive interpretation is just another type of interpretation after the simultaneously one. In this type, the interpreter works on listening to what the speakers said and translate it in a spoken form in the target language. It is considered time consuming to carry out this consecutive interpretation. However, it works well in small scale of meetings at which only a small number of participant present.

Consecutive interpreting also sets in community sector where the interpreter must be ready to help within the wide range of fields including justice, education, legal, health and human services. Simply, the interpreters works via telephone and video-conference link.

Video Remote Interpretation

The next thing to bring into the review of difference between translator and interpreter is the video remote interpretation. If you have been familiar with the world of interpretation or translation, you will be familiar with this term. Video Remote Interpreting is also called as VRI interprets any kind of language from anywhere else at your next conference. In this case, the delegates will just hear what the interpreter said using an app on their smartphone.

Video Remote Interpretation is an affordable solution providing a crystal-clear audio and high definition video streaming. It is a video telecommunication service designed to make your event or conference special. It is easy to use as well as flexible for both the interpreter and the clients.

This video remote interpretation works by utilizing the devices such as web cameras or videophones to present the spoken language as well as the sign language interpreting service. The process is done through a remote or offsite interpreter so that he/she can communicate with the persons with whom there is a barrier of communication.

Video remote interpretation service is commonly used for medical, legal, and mental health settings at which the deaf community exists. This service provides an easy access for the deaf community. This way, they will be able to clearly see the screen or sign through the camera.

Video remote interpretation is a solution where there doesn’t seem any possibility to communicate within the community. This is how you can be able to communicate without waiting too long for an interpreter to turn up. In short, if you have this service, you don’t even need an interpreter.

So what do you have in mind now after looking up the difference between translator and interpreter in this review? Which service will you need most? Don’t forget to reread this article to ensure that you deeply understand both interpretation and interpretation.



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