The key difference between translation and interpretation lies within the choice of communication channel. Simply put, translation deals with written communication, while interpreting is all about the spoken word.
Translators work on written documents, including books, essays, legal documents, medical records, websites, instruction manuals, subtitles for film or TV, or any other form of information in written form. Interpreters, on the other hand, are involved in projects that require live translation; for example conferences and business meetings, medical appointments and legal proceedings.
Both translators and interpreters have a deep linguistic and cultural knowledge of their working languages, as well as the ability to communicate clearly and succinctly. It is, however, important to highlight the distinctive features of these two professions.
Translators generally work from their home computers, and tend to specialize in a particular field. Good translators have excellent written skills and are usually perfectionists by nature, paying particular attention to the style of the source documents, as well as the accuracy and significance of the terms used within their translations.
Unlike translators, interpreters do not provide a word-for-word translation; instead, they transpose spoken messages from one language into another, instantly and accurately. Interpreters work in real-time situations, in direct contact with both the speaker and the audience. They rely primarily on their linguistic expertise acquired through training and experience – a sentence in one language may be rendered an entirely different way in another. Good interpreters are endowed with very quick reflexes, as well as a good memory and speaking voice. An interpreter is often more than an on-demand translator, however – they also act as a facilitator between speaker and listener, both linguistically and diplomatically.
This is the perfect solution for small groups, in which the interpreter listens to the speaker and translates face-to-face, after a short interval of time.
The business interpreter acts as an intermediary between the speaker and the listener (or listeners). He/she is required to translate to and from both languages.
Business Interpreting is widely used for:
– Commercial negotiations (meetings, business lunch / breakfast, etc.)
– Factory tours
– International Exhibitions
– House / office viewing
Whispering Interpreting or Chuchotage
Chuchotage is a technique that consists of whispering the content of an ongoing conversation, meeting or speech into the ear of the recipient. The interpreter is situated close to listener, and will whisper the translation to them while the speaker(s) continue to talk. The interpreter will render an accurate summary of what is being said, rather than producing a verbatim translation. This can only be truly effective if only a single listener requires interpretation.