Translation and Interpretation

translators and interpreters


One of the most important catalysts in helping to understand the world in another dimension is through translation and interpretation services, most times people tend to use the two concepts interchangeably. These concepts have left imprint on the world and the industry has grown to new heights, their services have had remarkable impact on the world, as the practice gives people the opportunity to understand the meaning of several languages.


Translation has been a powerful tool in helping to bridge the gap between cultural barriers, and this remains true even to this day.

Translation is the communication of meaning from one language (the source) to another language (target). Translation refers to written information, the purpose of it is to convey the original tone and intent of a message, taking into account cultural and regional differences between source and target languages. It is the transmittal of written text from one language to another, it communicates the same message in another language. One can also say that translation is rendering a written text into another language in the way that the author intended the text, it is concerned with written words.

Translation must take into account constraints that include context, the rules of grammar of the two languages, their writing conventions, and their idioms. A common misconception is that there exists a simple word- for- word correspondence between any two languages, and that translation is a straight forward mechanical process.


Interpretation is an oral form of translation, enabling real- time cross linguistic communication either face to- face, in a conference setting or over the phone, it can also be called oral translation. This is the process whereby the person repeats what is said out loud in a different language. It is basically paraphrasing. The interpreter listens to the speaker in one language, grasps the content of what is being said, and paraphrases his or her understanding of the meaning, and then changes meaning back into words of a different language. An interpreter must be able to translate in both direction on the spot, without using dictionaries or other reference materials, to be effective, the interpreter decides how tone best convey both the meaning of the words and the context in which those words are used. This requires a high level of expertise in a subject area, current knowledge of different cultures and a great deal of experience.


  • Translation involves written material between more than one language while Interpretation involves spoken content between multiple languages
  • Translators need excellent written skills while interpreter should have a fundamental proficiency in spoken communication
  • Another key difference between the two is the “Timing” Interpretation takes place on the spot, the process can occur in person, over the phone or during meetings  whereas translation can happen long after the text is created, this gives translators ample time to utilize  technologies and reference materials to generate accurate, high quality translation.
  • Interpreters must be fluent in both the source and the target language, as they are required to translate in both directions instantaneously without the aid of reference materials while professional translators work in one direction: their own. Given that they only need to translate source content into their mother tongue, they are not required to be fluent in the source language
  • Interpreters must capture tone, inflections voice quality and other unique elements of the spoken word and then convey these verbal cues to the audience while translators have to do with the written text.


  • Both make use of metaphors, analogies and idioms which resonate with the target audience is a challenge that both translators and interpreters face.
  • Both professions require a high amount of skill and expertise with professional qualification and ability to communicate well.
  • Both works solely into their mother tongue.
  • Both are concerned with rendering a message from a source language into a target language.
  • Both aim at solving societal problem and providing solution to language barriers, hence harnessing international relationship in the world.
  • Both translation and interpretation are used in everyday life and they are two closely linguistic related   disciplines.

Conclusively, both concepts allow society to express multitudes of opinions, ideas and insights, being able to understand these expressions remain a fundamental right. The global market for both translation and interpretation will continue to grow as the world continues to globalize. Consequently, instead of fading into history, the translation industry will remain essential in helping society stay connected.

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