The Difference Between Translator and Interpreter

If you’re looking for a translator or an interpreter, you might be confused about the difference between them. Translators and interpreters are both professionals who help people communicate with each other, but they do so in very different ways.

Translators and interpreters are two different things

While the two roles are often confused, there are important differences between them.

  • Translators translate written text from one language into another. They work with written documents and may also be responsible for editing or proofreading them. While they must be able to write in both languages, they don’t need to speak or understand the target language before starting their work–that part comes later in the process.
  • Interpreters translate spoken languages live during events such as conferences or meetings where people from different countries need to communicate effectively with each other. This can include anything from small groups up through large audiences (such as international conferences), depending on what kind of interpreter you’re looking for!

Translators translate written text from one language into another.

As a translator, you will be working with written text. You will translate from one language into another and may work with multiple languages. In some cases, you may also translate spoken words or phrases into written form.

An interpreter translates spoken languages.

Interpreters translate spoken language, while translators translate written text.

An interpreter is someone who translates spoken language from one language into another for the benefit of people who do not share a common mother tongue. For example, if I were an interpreter and you were speaking French to me in English, I would have to listen carefully and then speak back in French with my own interpretation of what you said. This can be done over the phone or face-to-face; both situations require different skills from an interpreter.

A translator, on the other hand, translates written text between languages so that it looks like how the original document looked before being translated (i.e., fonts should remain unchanged). For example: if someone sends me an email written entirely in Korean but wants me to send them back an English version of it later on after reading my response–that would be considered translating rather than interpreting because there wasn’t any spoken communication involved between us at any point during our conversation!


Translators and interpreters perform different jobs. Translators translate documents from one language into another, while interpreters translate spoken words from one language to another. If you’re looking for a translator or interpreter, be sure to check out International Translating Company is the leader in business translation services, with offices across the United States.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.