The Difference between Translation and Interpreting Interpreting and translation are two closely related linguistic disciplines. Yet they are rarely performed by the same people. The difference in skills, training, aptitude, and even language knowledge are so substantial that few people can do both successfully on a professional level. On the surface, the difference between interpreting and translation is only the difference in the medium: the interpreter translates orally, while a translator interprets written text. Both interpreting and translation presuppose a certain love of language and deep knowledge of more than one tongue. The Skill Profile of Technical Translators However, the differences in skills are arguably greater than similarities. The key skills of the translator are the ability to understand the source language and the culture of the country where the text originated, and, using a good library of dictionaries and reference materials, render that material clearly and accurately into the target language. In other words, while the linguistic and cultural skills are still critical, the most important mark of a good translator is the ability to write well in the target language. An interpreter, on the other hand, has to be able to translate in both directions on the spot, without using dictionaries or other supplemental reference materials. Interpreters must have extraordinary listening abilities, especially for simultaneous interpreting. Simultaneous interpreters need to process and memorize the words that the source-language speaker is saying now, while simultaneously outputting in the target language the translation of words the speaker said 5-10 seconds ago. In addition, interpreters have to posess excellent public speaking skills, and the intellectual capacity to instantly transform idioms, colloquialisms and other culturally-specific references into analogous statements the target audience will understand. International's interpreters possess the following skills: - Thorough knowledge of the general subject of the speeches to be interpreted - Intimate familiarity with both cultures; - Extensive vocabulary in both languages
- Ability to express thoughts clearly and concisely in both languages; - Excellent note-taking techniques for consecutive interpreting; - At least 2-3 years of booth experience for simultaneous interpreting.