What is the difference between translator and interpreter?

What is the difference between translator and interpreter

Does translator and interpreter mean the same thing? These words, often used as synonyms, actually have different meanings. Both are related to the communication process, but link to it in different ways. Thus, the role of professionals is not the same either. 

Are you curious about the topic? So come with us and find out the main differences between translation and interpretation. Good reading! 


Translation is related to written language. Thus, it is made in books, reports, newspapers, articles, subtitles of audiovisual works, medical records, etc. This process is something perennial, that is, once done it remains available for later access by different people. 

To do his job, the translator needs to have a strong command of his native language, as well as know in depth the language to be translated. To this end, you should always have grammars and dictionaries in the languages ​​you are working with to clarify possible doubts. 

Its goal is to provide the reader with clear text that maintains its original characteristics. That is, the work must be translated as if it was originally written in this language. This is done in a long process that involves a lot of study, analysis and review. 


Interpretation is based on spoken language. As such, it occurs momentarily during a speech or in general presentations. That is, the interpreter’s activity is to reproduce, in real time, what is being said by the sender of the message to the listeners.  

This professional usually works in government agencies with heads of state. It can also work in large private companies or international bodies. 

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Therefore, the interpreter often has access to inside information and therefore needs to be very discreet. What’s more, you must be quick-thinking and fluent in the languages ​​you work with. 

After all, he needs to convey a message instantly, unlike the translator, who can spend days or weeks acting on a text message. 

The formation of the translator and the interpreter

Because they are related professions, translators and interpreters generally have the same basic background. Thus, they may pursue an undergraduate degree in Letters or depart for a specific Translation and Interpreting course. 

In both cases, professionals will have in-depth knowledge in the area of ​​language, studying syntax content, literature, linguistics and textual interpretation. 

Depending on the emphasis of the undergraduate and educational institution, specific subjects such as translation theory, dubbing workshop, interpreting practices, etc. may also be addressed. 

However, whatever the case may be, students are sure to have bilingual classes. That is, in their mother tongue and the language they decided to study, be it English, French, German, Italian, among others. 

The places of performance of the translator and the interpreter

Translators and interpreters have a very broad market. As such, they can work in book publishers, in the game market, in television or film, at events, in government institutions, in private companies, or as freelancers.

In general, the salaries of those who work in the sector range from $ 1,169.00 to $ 4,300.00. However, depending on the workplace, these values ​​may be much higher. 

Well, after all we have explained, it is easy to see the differences between the work of the translator and the interpreter. Although both work with language, one of them is based on the text, and the other speaking. Therefore, these professionals need to have different skills in their daily lives. 

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