What Is The Difference Between Interpreters And Translators?

While both services call for qualified professionals, interpreting and translation go from very different skills and media. While interpreters provide a real-time, oral translation, traditional linguists translate the written word. That being said, both interpreters and translators will need to have proven experience in the language pair, possess subject matter expertise, and offer linguistic as well s cultural adaptations. Let’s dig a little bit more deeply into each service.


Interpreting services happen in real-time and is possible on-site as well as remote.

Types of on-site interpreting:

  • Simultaneous Interpreting. For on-site simultaneous interpreting, each interpreter is positioned in a sound-proof booth with an interpreter console. They interpret the speech into the target language as quickly and correctly as possible, while the audience receives the translation through their headphones. This type of interpreting can prove challenging in terms of organization due to the unique rules toed to each location, the number of attendees, and interpretation equipment such as consoles, headsets, booths, and so on.
  • With Consecutive Interpreting, we are talking about one-on-one meetings, conferences or possibly large gatherings. This is a Face 2 Face interpreting service where the source-language speaker takes regular pauses throughout the speech so that the interpreter can interpret it to the audience. While this form of interpreting usually doesn’t require specialized equipment, the interpreter has to make sure to devote their full attention to the speaker while also taking notes and retaining the information perfectly.

Types of remote interpreting:

  • Over-the-phone Interpreting (OPI) also follows the consecutive interpreting style, although it is performed over a landline or mobile phone.
  • Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is a also a consecutive interpreting solution, specifically designed for clients and interpreters looking to connect through video and audio. Thanks to this visual feature, both spoken language, and sign language solutions can be offered.
  • Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI). Much like with the on-site variant, RSI requires quite a bit of planning and also relies on qualitative technologies to connect people remotely. In this case, interpreting platforms such as Kudo, Voiceboxer, Interactio, Speakus, and Verspeak, can prove useful.


Translation involves, like we discussed before, translation work performed on the written word. While interpreters have to perform their magic on the spot (although ideally, they will be provided with a program), translators will use Translation CAT Tools and a source text to work with. With the tool, they will be able to leverage function such as a Translation Memory, glossaries and style guides, so consistency and cost-effectiveness is maintained. Additionally, they will follow the Translation, Editing, Proofreading (TEP) Process were various experts work together to provide an optimized translation.

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