When You Should Use an Interpreter or a Translator

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Translation Services

As your business continues to grow and reach a global market, it’s important to understand what types of services you may need to help you reach those markets with ease.

The number one way to reach global markets is to ensure that your content is in the language of the consumer. There is plenty of options to getting your content translated, but how do you know which service you really need to reach that global audience?

Let us share some insight.

What is an Interpreter?

The easy way to think of an interpreter is a service that happens immediately and in the moment. When you watch Government officials speak on tv you will notice that there is almost always someone else on the screen that is interpreting what the person is saying into ASL (American Sign Language). The same thing can be done for any languages.

Right now, interpreters are used a lot during Zoom calls to ensure that everyone on the call has equal access to the knowledge being shared.

Interpreters are best used for any type of verbal live translation, which is referred to as ‘interpretation”, that needs to be done and they are fluent in both languages present. Interpretation can be both consecutive and simultaneous. Interpreters that can provide consecutive interpretation are also referred to as Community interpreters. Interpreters that provide simultaneous interpretation as also referred to as Conference Interpreters.

What is a Translator?

A translator takes written content and translates it from one language to another language. This is not done live and is done in written format instead.

Translators are writers that take what someone else has written in one language (source) and translate it into another (target). This can include websites, brochures, and even subtitles from audio. Typically, translators niche down into focusing on their mother tongue when doing translations. Translators are professionals with a post-secondary degree in Translation.

The key to remember here is that a translator only works with written information and does not provide live services.

Do I Need an Interpreter or a Translator?

Determining the services, you need is key to your success in reaching a global audience.

It’s important to remember that you may need both services to reach your goals but knowing which one to use when will be beneficial.

You will need to use an interpreter when you require any type of verbal ‘translation’ (the correct term is ‘interpretation’). This means that if you have a Zoom or in person meeting with someone who does not speak the same language as you an interpreter can help. This is an immediate service.

Using a translator is going to be key when you need to have material, the agenda for example for that meeting in both languages. Translation is also key to ensure that your website reaches a global audience. A translator can take the copy of your site and translate it into different languages for you. This will take time and will need a good amount of planning. You may also use a translator to translate any business cards, online materials, closed captions or even books.

Overall, as you reach out to be more globally accessible it’s important to determine your immediate needs and what you may need in the future. Plan for what’s the top priority and ensure to give yourself plenty of time to set up appointments with interpreters and translators.

Reach out to Language Marketplace today to get started with your next project!