|Do I need an interpreter or a translator?|
Do I need an interpreter or a translator?
Interpretation is the process or activity involved in transferring a message orally from one language into another in real time. You will need an interpreter if you wish to communicate with an LEP person orally. Interpreters also perform a function called sight translation where they reproduce written text into spoken language. An interpreter is the culturally competent person who orally transfers a message from one language into another using one of the three modes of interpretation known as simultaneous, consecutive and sight translation.
Translation is the process of or activity involved in transferring a written message from one language to another. You will need a translator if you wish to take written text, such as a brochure, from English, into the written form of another language.
If your document is an audio file format then you will need a transcriptionist/translator (T/T or TT), sometimes inaccurately called "language transcriptionist" or "bilingual transcriptionist". These are interpreters that not only specialize in transcribing spoken source language, but also in translating it into the target language to produce a bilingual transcript. They typically have transcription equipment. Since excellent oral skills are a must, they should have both interpreter and translator credentials. Currently, the National Association of Judicial Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) is involved in a national effort to come up with professional standards regarding this issue.