Interpreter vs Translator
The words interpreter and translator might look alike at the outset, but there is certainly a difference between interpreter and translator. There is a difference in their concepts. However, before analyzing the difference between interpreter and translator, let us look at what each of these words means and their characteristics. Both interpreter and translator are nouns. Translator is the noun form of the verb ‘translate’ while interpreter is the noun form of the verb ‘interpret’. One of the most important differences between an interpreter and a translator is that an interpreter translates spoken words whereas a translator translates written words.
Who is a Translator?
The Oxford English dictionary says that a translator is “A person who translates from one language into another, especially as a profession.” A translator must be equipped with great linguistic skills. He is supposed to have a sound knowledge of grammar and he should be in a position to express the thoughts presented in the language that he would translate very well. The job of a translator does not require special skills since he would work into his native language most of the time. A translator has all the time in the world to translate written words. He enjoys the luxury of referring to books, grammar texts and research works.
Who is an Interpreter?
The Oxford English dictionary says that an interpreter is “A person who interprets, especially one who translates speech orally or into sign language.” An interpreter has to translate the spoken words on the basis of whatever grammatical knowledge he has of the language from which he interprets and his interpretation is based on the expertise of the subject. This makes the job of an interpreter more challenging. On the contrary to the job of a translator, the job of an interpreter requires special skill in the sense that he has to do the interpretation orally and on the spot most of the time.
What is the difference between Interpreter and Translator?
The job of translation is more expressive in purpose whereas the job of interpretation is more conveying in purpose. In other words, it can be said that a translator does his best to express the thoughts of the original writer into another language, whereas an interpreter does his best to convey the message of the speaker into another language.
• A translator translates written documents. An interpreter translates spoken words.
• Since a translator is concerned with writing, he should have a sound knowledge in the target language (the language to which he translates).
• An interpreter has more challenging job as he has to do that on the spot.
• A translator enjoys the freedom of perusing other sources if a problem occurs. An interpreter does not have such freedom, but has to translate with what knowledge is stored in his mind.
Though the duty of a translator appears to be easier than an interpreter’s that does not lessen the responsibility a translator has for his translation. The responsibility is equal for the both the interpreter and the translator.