by Kim Mandel

What´s the difference between an Interpreter and a Translator? It´s easy to confuse the two in the belief they are one and the same. After all, they both have the same task: convey the...

...the meaning of words in one language and communicate it in another different one. However, there is an important difference between them. The Interpreter works with spoken words, while the Translator deals with written words. A Simultaneous Interpreter, like the ones who work at the United Nations, needs to have a well-established grasp of both languages that they are working with, as well as being agile, quick, precise and accurate. No wonder, these highly qualified experts earn such high salaries! A few examples will help clarify what these professionals do. If there is a symposium, conference, convention, etc. where one of the speakers doesn’t speak the same language as the attendees, you need to hire an Interpreter. On the other hand, if you need a document, brochure, book, etc. translated from its original language to another different one, then you should hire a Translator, preferably one who is highly knowledgeable in both languages and on the topic to be translated. One important caveat. If a legal document (birth certificate, residency papers, etc.) needs to be translated, it is essential to contract a Certified Translator. To the contrary, if the document is not certified and, in many cases, apostilled, it will be rejected. There are numerous translations that don’t require certification, but legal ones must always be done by a Certified Translator. If not, it’s a waste of time and money.