Many individuals often use the terms ” translation” and “interpretation” interchangeably and it is common to think that interpreters translate or that translators interpret because both fields involve converting from one language to another. However, interpretation and translation fall into separate job categories and require differing skill sets, particularly in the Chinese language context.
Translation involves converting the written text of one language into that of another. Translators focus on written words, charts and graphics. Translation involves converting words – books, articles, websites, movies, or even works of art into the translator’s native language; this is an important point. Except in very exceptional situations, translators should only translate into their native tongues.
Interpreters, unlike translators, focus on converting speech and spoken words from one language to another. Interpreters listen as a person gives a speech or talks, and then converts what they say into the audience’s native language. The interpretation occurs fluently and with little or no delay. Interpreting any spoken words requires using the same linguistic nuances, innuendos and pitch, to ensure that the full meaning of the speakers’ words is conveyed.
For instance, when the French prime minister speaks at the United Nations each foreign leader has an interpreter converting the prime minister’s speech into their own language. Each translator is responsible for using the same style, pitch and phrases that the prime minister uses, but just in their own language.
Therefore, the Chinese interpreter in China facilitates the communication between two people who speak different languages like Chinese and English. They can communicate with the help of interpreters without learning the other’s native language. Generally speaking, interpreters will be able to charge significantly more per hour than translators – this is due to the absolute mastery that interpreters need to demonstrate over two languages to be able to vocalize an accurate translation quickly and without the use of reference materials such as dictionaries.