Interpreting and Translating

coffee mug computer workWhat does Translation mean? What’s the difference between Translating and Interpreting?

In general, TRANSLATING means transposing something that has been said in a language (source language) into another language.

More specifically, translating differs from interpreting as it means transposing a written text, whereas interpreting implies transposing a speech. While the Translator is “invisible”, the Interpreter is “visible” and his/her task is to enable “immediate” communication, as he/she identifies him/herself with the speaker and delivers his/her thoughts and opinions with the same intensity and nuances.


SIMULTANEOUS interpreting: the interpreter works, with a colleague, in a sound-proof interpreting booth. The speaker speaks into the microphone and the interpreter – using a headset to listen to the speaker – delivers the original speech in another language, virtually simultaneously.

CONSECUTIVE interpreting: the interpreter writes down notes during the speech and then delivers the original speech in the target language.

CHUCHOTAGE: (from the French chuchoter, to whisper) is an alternative technique to regular simultaneous interpreting and it can be used in case no simultaneous interpreting equipment is available. The interpreter whispers into his/her (necessarily) restricted audience’s ears.

BUSINESS (B2B or liaison) interpreting: It is used for business meetings, negotiations or guided tours when the interpreter “mediates” between people speaking two different languages in a consecutive way, without using any conference interpreting equipment.