How Does Translation and Interpretation Differ?

If you are a newbie to hosting multilingual events or doing business with foreign firms, you may not know how the terms translation and interpretation differ. For the general public, both words are used interchangeably in conversations as well as in many blogs or articles posted to the Internet. You may see translation equipment offers where the seller is actually talking about interpreter's equipment. Conversely, you may have read that a translator was needed for an important meeting where multiple languages were being spoken. However, in the language industry, both words have a more specific meaning, for example:

Translation

An English dictionary defines "translation" as: the act or process of translating something into a different language; also: the product of such a rendering. In the our industry, the term "translation" is used to describe the act of translating the written word from one language to other languages.*

Interpretation

An English dictionary defines "interpretation" as: the action or result of explaining the meaning of something. This broader definition takes on a more specific meaning when applied to multilingual events where the terminology is used to denote the verbal interpretation from a speaker's language to other languages.*

A translator would be needed to convert a document or writing from the native language to a document that will be distributed in one or more languages. These can include everything from multilingual instructions to be included with a new product to binding legal agreements between foreign companies.  On the other hand, an interpreter (or several interpreters) may be needed for an event where the host language is not the native language for all of those in attendance. Interpretation is normally performed from a sound-shielded booth using advanced audio equipment that transmits what is being said to an attendee's listening device, or receiver, in their native language.

Interpretation and translation require a thorough understanding of each language to include specific cultural paradigms that must be accurately conveyed and clearly understood. At ProLingo, we understand that every client's need is different. Isn't it time to put our vast experience, extensive inventory, and modern service attitude to work for you? Call us toll free at 800.287.9755 or use this website's convenient contact form for a prompt quote.

 *NOTE: In the language industry, translators (written) and interpreters (verbal) are usually different people that possess unique skills.

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Prolingo Client Testimonials

Thank you very much for making our World Congress an outstanding success. I have a special thank you for you and your team of interpreters. I know it was a huge undertaking, but you made it seem so effortless. The simultaneous interpretation was excellent. Your staff was extremely professional and patient with the attendees. I am looking forward to working with you and your group in the near future. - T. Washington, Convention Logistics Manager
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