Those who think that translation and interpretation mean the same thing are making a great mistake. There is a very important difference between the two terms, and that is the communication channel. While translation refers to written communication, interpretation deals with spoken communication. The professionals who work in the field are known as interpreters and translators. Translators and interpreters have acquired a thoughtful linguistic as well as cultural knowledge of the languages they work in, and the ability to perform a clear and succinct communication.

On the other hand, translators usually convert written materials from one language into another one. The translator must have advanced grammatical knowledge of the grammars of both languages. They should be also a very good writer and editor. Research needs to be done and serious amounts of reference materials need to be read and used.  A translator has to have analytical thinking to work accurately and to pay attention to details. To translate does not mean just to replace words from one language with their relationship in the targeted language. In fact, it means to express ideas and sentences so that the meaning remains the same and the text is equally fluent and coherent as in the source language. A translator must always pay attention to cultural differences, which can sometimes become a tough job.

Simultaneous, sight interpreting and consecutive are the main three types of interpreting. In the case of consecutive interpretation, the speaker and the interpreter speak one after the other for a few sentences. By simultaneous interpretation, we understand real time interpretation for which the interpreter listens to the speaker and translates at the same time (usually using a headset and microphone). Meanwhile, sight interpretation refers to real time interpretation for which the interpreter uses the text of the speech to translate while the speaker is speaking at the same time.

The simultaneous interpretation is the most complex of the three types. It is most commonly employed at international conferences. At the same time, it requires the interpreter to transmit the message verbally with the speaker. This is a very intense type of interpretation, in which the interpreter needs to be highly focused on his work.  Usually, simultaneous interpreters work in pairs for twenty to thirty minutes each.

Being a translator or an interpreter almost always means performing a lonely job. Although on some occasions these professionals have the chance to travel to different locations wherever they are needed, most of the time they work alone, striving to meet tight deadlines and coping with high pressure and stress. It is only vocation, love, and dedication to one’s job that makes translators and interpreters go on with what they are doing, with great pride and dignity.

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