Translators are NOT interpreters!


Translators are NOT interpreters!

As a language service provider, on a daily basis we face what might be the most common misconception in the translation field: believe it or not, translating and interpreting are actually two very different jobs.

Our long-term partner, the American Translators Association*, has published a thorough piece on this topic. Here are the main takeaways:


  • Both need language proficiency in the language pair they are working with, the target language being their mother tongue
  • Both can be either full-time employees or freelancers
  • Both earn certifications and specialisations as quality assurance
  • Both have to face the challenges of idiomatic and cultural differences when conveying metaphorical ideas or analogies


  • Translators work on written documents while interpreters work on spoken or signed languages
  • For quoting, translators often focus on word count and language pairing, whereas interpreters use the type of service provided and the duration of the assignment
  • For delivery, interpreters provide their services live on the spot, while translators may deliver the translated document a while after the order went through
  • Translators may use supportive machinery such as AI or CAT tools, while interpreters use high-tech headphones and note-taking technologies

Source :