Overview

Translation and interpretation are two very important concepts in our increasingly interconnected, multilingual world. Translation focuses on deciphering the meaning of written words from one language to another, while interpretation involves orally conveying meaning between languages.

Translation

Translators focus on information in written form, whether it’s printed pages, video subtitles, website text, software, or multimedia. Translation focuses on the transfer of written material from one language to another. When done correctly, translation connects the world through mutual understanding, preserves culture, and helps us develop as a whole.

The ability to translate is now becoming a necessity. Translators must have great writing and analytical abilities, as it is important to successfully preserve the meaning of the written word within its context. Translation focuses on the transfer of written material from one language to another. If done correctly, translation connects the world, preserves culture, and helps us develop as a whole. For example, in the United States, it is now becoming more and more common to have most documents and resources translated into Spanish, the country’s second most commonly spoken language. According to the 2019 US Census Bureau, there are about 60.5 million Hispanics in the US, which accounts for about 18% of the total population. This illustrates the importance of understanding a region’s population and adapting resources to be more accessible to all. Translation plays a vital role in this.

Interpretation

Interpreters focus on any non-written form of transferring one language to another, whether it’s done face-to-face, over the phone, or through a video chat. All of these are forms of interpretation. Although many of the characteristics required by both of these professions are similar, the overall concept is very different. Interpretation deals with the verbal translation of foreign languages, and more often than not, it takes place in live settings. Interpretation requires a complete verbal command of both the source and target languages and is based loosely on the original material. Many languages differ in their intended usage and cultural intonations, making interpretation much more complex than a word-for-word translation. Instead, interpretation involves condensing the material quickly into culturally appropriate language. This requires not only an understanding of both languages but also the ability to adjust and think quickly in live settings.

With diversity spreading across countries around the world, interpretation will soon become an essential part of business and everyday life. As of 2019, about 14% of the U.S. population was foreign-born. With nearly 59 million immigrants coming to the U.S since 1965, interpretation is becoming a necessity. As the world encourages more diversity, interpretation will become an indispensable resource for businesses, medicine, and other ventures.

Differences

With the world changing every day, the need for translation and interpretation is becoming increasingly apparent. Translation involves deciphering written words from one language to another, while interpretation deals with the verbal translation of foreign languages, often in live settings. These two skills will soon become necessary for both business and everyday life.