What is the difference between ‘interpreter' and ‘translator'?
(A. Umar, Kadayanallur)
Many people tend to use the words interchangeably. Both a translator and an interpreter have command of two or more languages. According to most dictionaries, an interpreter is someone who deals with the spoken word. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave a speech in Hindi at the UN General Assembly in 1977, interpreters speaking in different languages (French, English, Spanish, etc) let the audience know what our then Minister of External Affairs was saying.
This sort of interpretation where the speaker and the interpreter talk at the same time is called ‘simultaneous interpretation'.
We also have ‘consecutive interpretation'. In this case, the speaker talks for a few minutes and stops, giving the interpreter time to inform the audience what the speaker has just said. Unlike the interpreter, the translator mostly deals with the written word; he rewrites documents from one language to another.
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— Edith Zittler
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