What Is the Difference Between Translation and Interpretation Services?

Difference between translation and interpretation services

Breaking into global markets can be quite challenging without the right localization strategy in place. Understanding the unique difference between translation and interpretation services can help adapt your content to your target audience. That helps eliminate the language barrier, allowing you to expand across several international markets quickly. This is especially crucial when trying to achieve long-lasting success as a company.

While translation and interpretation services may seem interchangeable, distinct differences set them apart. Understanding the distinctions between the two services can help you successfully implement your localization strategy.

The Difference Between Translation and Interpretation

Both professional translators and interpreters must be proficient in at least two languages. They also need expert knowledge of subject matter and a deep cultural understanding of the target audience. They also must convey the original messaging faithfully, accurately, and impartially.

While the difference between translation and interpretation services may be small, the two require techniques that are quite different in practice.

What Is an Interpretation Service?

Interpretation services involve converting spoken words from one language to another in a live setting. 

An interpretation service typically happens in real-time, leaving no time for wordsmithing or second-guessing. Interpretation services are usually offered by telephone via over-the-phone interpretation (OPI), in person, or through a video call.

It is delivered live for both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting modes. Simultaneous interpreting is when the interpreter works in unison with the original speech. The interpreter must listen and transpose the source language at the same time. 

With consecutive interpreting, interpretation happens after the speaker finishes speaking. That means an interpreter should listen to the source language first, take notes, and then communicate the message in the target language. 

Each type of interpretation suits different situations. For instance, consecutive interpretation can be the best option for lectures, seminars, presentations, press conferences, audits, and business meetings. Simultaneous interpretation works best for conferences, training sessions, state visits, public lectures, and congresses.

Professional interpreters interpret the source language into the target language while preserving its original meaning. They, however, rephrase colloquialisms, idioms, and other culturally-specific references into the culturally appropriate language. That ensures the message is delivered so that the target audience can understand. Interpreters work without the aid of reference materials but only rely on their experience, good memory, and quick reflexes.

When Do You Need Interpretation Services

You may seek interpretation services when dealing with clients, customers, or partners who do not share your native language. These instances may include medical appointments, conferences, meetings, sign language, legal proceedings, or live TV coverage.

For instance, you might need the services of a professional interpreter if you’re looking to hold an introductory meeting with a foreign company. The interpreter will interpret as you speak while paraphrasing to get the message across in real-time. That will ensure a more productive conversation takes place.

What Are Translation Services?

Difference between translation and interpretation servicesUnlike interpretation, translation entails changing written text from one language to another. The translator converts written text into a new language without losing the original message.

The process is less instantaneous than interpretation. It takes time since the translator must read and understand the meaning of your written content in the source language and then write it into the target language. In some instances, the professional translator may also need to do thorough research or seek consultation to understand the subject better. 

They also need to proofread and edit the content accordingly to ensure it’s polished, culturally appropriate, error-free, and eloquently written. On top of translating the content into your target language, professional translators also make sure the original message, style, and form are kept intact.

Another significant difference between translation and interpretation is that most professional translators employ various tools to simplify complex translation jobs. These include computer-aided tools that help convert the original content into a file type that’s simple to work with. Other commonly used tools include translation memory software that translates anything previously translated. That helps speed up the process for translators while maintaining consistency and translation quality.

Apart from their skills and computer-aided tools, professional translators also use trusted resources like dictionaries, terminology lists, glossaries, and reference books. Translation also involves other linguistic experts who proofread the translated work and convert it into the original format.

When Do You Need Translation Services

Translating your content for your target audience is crucial to the success of your business. There are different translation processes for various texts. Examples can include legal translation services for translating legal documents like contracts, legislation, business agreements, and employment documents. Technical translation involves the exact translation of documents such as booklets, technical standards, manuals, guides, patents, and many more.

For medical documents you need to translate, the translator must ensure accuracy, clarity, and legislative compliance for your target country. You may seek medical translation services for documents such as medical reports, medical equipment manuals, and clinical trials.

You could also need translation services for the localization of software, mobile apps, websites, documentation, or user guides. Translators can also come in handy when translating financial documents, video subtitles, website content, and marketing documents. 

Hire Professional Translation and Interpretation Services 

Knowing the difference between translation and interpretation services, you understand what service to use to overcome the language barrier effectively. If you’re still unsure which service best suits your specific needs, it’s always best to seek help from a language services provider (LSP). A qualified language services provider will assign a professional with the required skills and knowledge to effectively handle your project.

Poor interpretation and translation can make your messaging lose power, consistency, and continuity. At TransLingua, we offer a comprehensive range of linguistic services in over 100 languages both in the United States and abroad. We have the resources to provide interpreters and translators who are experienced and fluent in source and target languages.

Do you need to translate your marketing documents into a dozen languages? Or need an interpreter for your upcoming conference or business meeting? Contact us today. We offer free quotes for quality translation and interpretation services that best convey your message to your target audience.

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