Translating languages VS Interpreting
Translating Languages and Interpreting have been used interchangeably and have been understood as synonyms. This has increased the confusion manifold and we see people asking ‘Is there a difference between language translation and interpreting?’ or ‘What is the difference between the two?’ Well, as a start, translation involves written skills while interpreting is verbal in nature. Let us get a deeper understanding of the two:
What is Translating languages?
Translation is a process in which texts are conveyed from one language to another while keeping the essence of the text the same. Even though this requires hard work and diligence, it is imperative that a translator must have good writing skills in both the original and target language. They must be able to not only translate the text in the target language but also be able to convey the meaning behind the text. The use of dictionaries and reference material is immense in this case and a lot of research goes into translating a piece of literature. This is not done face-to-face or on a real time basis but over a span of time.
Bi-linguists are very rarely excellent as far as expression is concerned and this is the biggest limitation of any translator. With this point clarified, most of the translators today translate documents only in their native language so that the errors and misinterpretations can be minimized.
What is Interpreting?
Unlike translation, which is written, this is a verbal form. This is more of a face-to-face, real-time conversion of language. This can be called an oral form of translation. What the interpreter does is to listen to the speaker in one language, grasp the content, process and comprehend it, paraphrase it and verbally translate it into the target language. All this is done on real-time basis and without the use of any reference material.
An interpreter’s job is difficult since he or she needs to do the language conversion on real-time basis where there are no dictionaries or reference materials available. An interpreter must have a strong word bank in their head in order to enable them to do a better job. The job requires the interpreter to have a strong knowledge base and a clear understanding of the culture behind both languages.
Translating languages is what both translators and interpreters do, however, while the translator does it in writing, the interpreter has to actually speak it.