How vast is the overlap between a career as a translator and a career as an interpreter?
At the moment I am studying Spanish Translation & Interpretation in undergraduate school. I adore reading and writing, but I also value the spoken and listening aspect of language as well, and therefore feel that I would be suited professionally not just for translation, but also for interpretation. Once I become a professional, would I be able to fluidly go between providing translation and interpretation services? Are there companies or jobs that would require both of me and therefore allow me that versatility, or would I have to have two different occupations in order to do both? If you are a translator and/or interpreter, which of the two do you prefer/find more fulfilling? Thanks so much! #spanish #translation #interpretation #interpreter #translator #translator-studies #spanish-translation
Translation on one hand and interpretation on the other are two completely different processes that require different skill sets. However, that does not mean they are mutually exclusive. Most of us will eventually choose between one or the other, but I know several skilled translators who also interpret (mostly consecutively). As long as you enjoy both there is nothing that should stop you from doing it. Especially as a freelancer, the more skills you have the more opportunities for job offers. And if you are working as an in-house language expert at a company you could translate documentation or software and also be called in to interpret for business negotiations.
There is also a great role for translators in the medical field to help with documentation and paperwork. If you choose to work in the medical field, there will be a role for you to perform both tasks regularly.
I personally do not have a preference for one over the other and have been lucky to hold positions where I can occasionally due both (aside from the additional work I do outside of my day job). I find fulfillment when I am able to help others communicate with one another whether it is in written or oral media.
The main difference:
Translators translate (covert the source language into the target) in written content/text. e.g. software content, documentation, websites, manuals etc.
Interpreters translate spoken words from one language to another. e.g. Conferences, legal proceedings, TV interviews etc.
Translators use Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) Tools to make work more efficient & often have a separate pair of eyes to review the final translations.
On the other hand, Interpreters work on projects involving live translation & there is no room for error as you do not have the opportunity to have someone review what you communicate.
Tone of voice, speed, accuracy etc. are very critical & the ability to fix on the go & align with the speed of several people is key to this role.
So, to summarize, the roles do overlap when it comes to knowledge about the subject as well as language, culture, communication skills etc. but it takes a lot more to be an interpreter & the first step starts with translation.
You can find jobs that offer/require one/both & you can decide on what works best depending on your interest & skillset.