Perhaps you didn’t even know there was a language industry. Or that the job growth for interpreters and translators is expected to grow 20% from 2019–2029.
You’re not alone. It’s a very common misconception.
But interpreters and translators are different. And even though their services may complement each other, they aren’t the same, and it’s good to know the difference.
Interpreters versus translators
Here are the three most important things you should know about the difference between interpreters and translators:
They do completely different things
Translators render the written word from one language to another. They work with novels, medical records, legal agreements, and all kinds of documentation.
Interpreters work with the spoken word. Interpreters work on-site or remotely, interpreting conversations between two or more people who speak different languages. They work with courts, governments, hospitals, customer service agents, and more.
Interpreters and translators have different skills and talents
While there are professionals who both interpret and translate, more often, someone specializes in one or the other. That’s because you generally need different skills for each job.
Translators need a precise knowledge of a language’s grammar and vocabulary. They work with dictionaries and translation memories to find the best way to render a sentence into another language.
Interpreters need to be highly accurate, but must concentrate on speed and delivery. They need to have good memory retention and note-taking skills.
They work together and one picks up where the other leaves off
In the U.S., if a patient speaks a language other than English, an interpreter will help them communicate with a doctor. But if you think about it, medical care doesn’t abruptly end once you leave the doctor’s office.
Patients are often provided with a prescription and written directions for care. A translator will provide a transcript of the doctor’s written directives for patients who speak a language other than English.
CLI’s complete language services
From industry-leading over-the-phone interpreting service available 24/7 to professional translation services, CLI provides a comprehensive and flexible language access solution.
And of course we can answer any other questions you have. Hit us up!