Differences Between Interpretation and Translation

Differences Between Interpretation and Translation

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Differences Between Interpretation and Translation. Several Countries Flags over a computer keyword. Illustration by AbsolutVision at Pixabay. Pixabay License.

Interpretation and translation are two linguistic disciplines that are very closely related. These language services enable communication between cultures, which is vital in a global world, especially in the public sector.

Although there are many similarities between interpretation and translation, they require completely different language knowledge, aptitude, training, and skills. 

This blog post will provide you with a detailed understanding of what these services are, how they are different, and which service would be suitable for what type of situation.   

What is Translation?

The translation service is a process in which the text from a source language is successfully reworked into another language while maintaining the original language. 

The main difference between language translation and interpretation is that translators can use a wide variety of computer-assisted tools to make the process easier and more accurate. Translators can refer to parallel texts and other written materials to ensure accuracy. 

Translation services are used extensively for professional purposes such as e-learning translation, legal translation, and medical translation.

Other instances when language translation services are helpful are audio-video translations, such as video games, corporate videos, advertisements, and training materials. 

Technical content such as user guides, instruction manuals, and engineering documents can also be translated into other languages.   

When Do You Need a Translator?

The public sector and government have to ensure that all citizens have access to crucial information. Translation services can help overcome language barriers to deliver timely and accurate communication in emergency situations.

With over 300 languages spoken in the UK, public sector translations are more important than ever. Translation services can be used for every public sector office, from community safety announcements to diplomatic translations.

In the healthcare industry, translation services can ensure that patients have access to life-saving information in a language they understand. The service can also be used to make information accessible on public buildings, utilities, and public transportation.

A professional translator can spot the annoying false friends in translation, like these Spanish False Friends and these common French Faux Amis!

What is Interpretation?

Interpretation is a verbal form of translation delivered by a professional interpreter. Interpretation happens in the moment. The service is delivered live simultaneously or right after the original speech.

Interpreters cannot rely on reference materials, dictionaries, or scripts. They need to quickly transpose the original language within context while preserving the original meaning. 

They also need to rephrase colloquialisms, idioms, and culturally specific references and ensure that the target audience understands the message (check out these mega translation mistakes made by large corporations!). Professional interpreters rely on quick reflexes, good memory, and experience.  

Interpretation services are used in projects that require live translation to some of the top languages spoken in the UK, such as live TV coverage, legal proceedings, medical appointments, meetings, and conferences.

When Do You Need an Interpreter?

Interpretation services are helpful in any situation where the live translation is required. It can be used for conferences and meetings, sign language, speeches, and for live TV.

In the public sector, the services of professional interpreters are often used in a number of domains, such as social welfare, education, health, law enforcement, justice, and immigration. It helps public sector professionals communicate with people in their native language on the spot. High-quality interpretation services can help meet the needs of their target audience quickly and effectively.

What’s Better: Interpreting or Translation?

Now that we’ve established the differences between translation and interpretation, the next step is to understand which service is better. 

Both of these services serve a purpose. Translation services are suitable for asynchronous materials such as written text or audiovisual content. On the other hand, interpretation helps deliver an oral rendering of the meaning of a foreign text.   

Interpreters translate between the two languages instantly, so there can be room for inaccuracies. Translators have more time and resources available to research and analyse text, so it tends to be more accurate. 

Professional translators have a deep understanding of the cultural practices of the target audience and dialects to do justice to the original work. Translation also tends to be more cost-effective in the long run because materials only need to be translated once.

To sum up, translation is always a better choice in regard to cost-effectiveness and accuracy. But interpretation is more suitable for live events.

Professional Translation Services in the UK

GoLocalise can be your ally to reach foreign language-speaking audiences in the UK and Europe. High-quality audiovisual translation and localisation projects require professionals with specific skill sets, technical know-how, and years of experience. Contact our team at GoLocalise today to discuss your audio-visual translation needs and for a quote.

Test your knowledge with these fun translation questions.

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