What Distinguishes an Interpreter From a Translator?

Many people are unaware of the difference between an interpreter and a translator. They even sometimes use these terms interchangeably. People must understand that these two are not just separate terms but are completely different professions. Even though they are professions that belong to the same line, but there are key differences between them that are important to understand.

The Type of Word

The first factor that distinguishes an interpreter from a translator is that an interpreter has to work with a message that is being spoken, and a translator has to translate a work with a written document. The job of a translator is to render a written text into another language. An interpreter, on the other hand, has to interpret spoken message from a source language into a target language.

The Service Charges

The way these professionals charge for their services is another major difference between interpreters and translators. A translator charges per word while an interpreter charges per hour.

The Delivery and Timing

Another important difference between a translator and an interpreter is the timing. A translator has sufficient time to complete his work and can easily make use of tools such as dictionaries. An interpreter has to render the spoken word right at the moment and does not have the time to refer to a dictionary or even take notes.


As translators get an ample amount of time to prepare his notes and complete the translated document, they offer a higher degree of accuracy. Interpreters are expected to provide their services there, and then, it is a reason why these professionals cannot offer a higher degree of accuracy.

Requirement of Fluency

Interpreters must be fluent in both the source and target languages. It is a demand of the profession as these individuals have to translate in both directions without any help from external tools. A translator has to work in a single direction with a sufficient amount of time and resources.

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