Interpreting and translation services are both disciplines that require impeccable linguistic skills, seemingly separated by nothing but their method of delivery – interpreters translate oral language, while translators work with the written word. And yet you rarely find someone who is an expert in both. Why is this? What’s the central difference between translating and interpreting and which one will best meet your business requirements?
Translation vs Interpreting: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start with translation. To be successful, language experts are required to develop a number of skills that will be used simultaneously. Firstly, you need the ability to understand the source material with the same fluency as a native speaker. Without this, it isn’t possible to translate the words and tone of voice of the document, along with any colloquialisms and slang terms.
This native fluency should be combined with a deep understanding of a country or region’s culture, religion and values to ensure all translated text is both culturally relevant and sensitive. This applies to both the source material and the target language.
Finally, these skills need to be merged with a natural writing ability, so the translator can write accurate, culturally relevant and localised text to a standard that would be considered to be high even if it was written from scratch in the target language.
Interpreters, on the other hand, have a rather different skillset. For them, the focus is on speed and ‘gist’. Interpreters must be able to translate in both directions (from one language to another, and back again) in a matter of seconds; there’s no time to turn to a dictionary or other reference materials.
Interpreters need to possess impressive listening skills, perfect diction across multiple languages, the ability to process multiple languages in a range of regional accents, and the talent to memorise large amounts of speech as it is being spoken.
They still require the same in-depth understanding of colloquialisms and local idioms possessed by translators, but speed tends to take priority for interpreters who are looking to get the message across as a conversation unfolds.
The Right Approach for Your Business
Most companies working in international markets will need interpreters and translation services at some point in time. To weight up your requirements for a specific project, ask yourself if you require:
Spoken or written translation: Do you require the translation of written source materials or of spoken word? Common examples of written translation include websites, marketing campaigns, content and how-to guides. Common examples of interpretation include multilingual public events, interviews or business meetings.
Real time or delayed translation: Interpreting is the process of translating between two languages in real time, which can take place in person, over the phone or via a video link. Translation is a longer process that requires the individual to take the source text and deliver an accurate and relevant final translation that will often require additional time for research and detail.
Quality or speed: The main focus for an interpreter is to translate information between two languages quickly. Conversely, translators put a greater focus on providing the most accurate and appropriate translation possible without the pressure of delivering instant results. That’s not to say that translators can’t provide professional results to tight deadlines when required, but it’s not as instantaneous as interpretation.
Translation in Video Marketing
One area where we hear the ‘interpreter or translator?’ question a lot is in video marketing.
With the spoken word holding such an important role in video marketing, you’d be forgiven for assuming interpreters hold the key to success when it comes to translating scripts for your next international video. But that’s not necessarily the case.
Of course, in situations where a video is being streamed to consumers live, the success of a multilingual video likely hinges on the skill of your interpreter. However, scripted videos, dubbed videos, and those that rely on professional voiceover narration could all benefit from the accurate translation of the written word in script form to win over audiences and make an impact.
In your role as a marketer in a growing business you want to ensure that your video content is as engaging in your target overseas markets as it is in your home market. Quality translation is the key to success here, ensuring accuracy in everything from grammar, nuances and colloquialisms, to cultural and religious references.
Bubbles Translation have thousands of translators with many years of translation and marketing experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help translate your next campaign and send you on your way to international success in 2017.