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What is the difference between translators and interpreters?

12 December 2017 - Posted by Helene Walters-Steinberg

Interpreting and translation are closely related, yet they are rarely performed by the same people. Interpreters work with spoken language, transferring the meaning of an oral text (such as a speech) from one language to another, as opposed to translators, who transfer the meaning of a written text from one language into another.

However, within these categories, there are also different types of translators and interpreters. Here are some of the most commonly terms used to describe them.


Accredited translator

A translator who has received accreditation from a professional association, such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists.


Certified translator 

As there is no official certification program for translators in the UK, there is no such thing a certified translator per se. Only translators who are accredited with the two main professional translation associations in the UK (Chartered Institute of Linguists and Institute of Translation and Interpreting) may produce a certificate of translation to accompany the translation of official documents.


Certified court interpreter

A person who has passed an examination to assess competency to interpret during court proceedings, usually the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) in the UK.


Chartered Linguist

A practitioner who is committed to maintaining high professional standards, continually developing professional language skills and specialist knowledge, awarded this status as a badge of quality and confidence by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.


Conference interpreter

An interpreter trained, knowledgeable and experienced in conference interpretation (oral translation of a speech during a conference or convention).


Conference translator

A person who translates written text intended for use during a conference, or generated during a conference (such as conference proceedings, etc.).


Consecutive interpreter

An interpreter who listens while the speaker speaks and then interprets while the speaker pauses, either for a specific person or for the entire room.


Legal interpreter

Highly skilled interpreter with an extensive knowledge of comparative law who interprets at continuing legal education seminars, bar association conventions, etc.


Legal translator

A translator with an extensive knowledge of comparative law who specialises in international legal documents such as contracts, licenses, franchises and legislation.


Literary translator

A translator who specialises in the translation of fiction, such as novels and poetry.


Medical interpreter

A highly skilled interpreter with knowledge of medical procedures and specialities, who interprets during medical conventions, continuing medical education seminars, medical equipment demonstrations, teaching of new surgical procedures, etc. 


Medical translator

A translator who specialises in the translation of medical texts, such as research, medical devices, medical equipment manuals, books, patents, etc.


Simultaneous interpreter

A person who translates speech orally into another language at the same time and at the same rate of speech as the speaker.


Sworn translator

In some countries, such as France, a sworn translator is a certified translator accredited to translate court documents.



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Welcome to our blog!

28 November 2017 - Posted by Helene Walters-Steinberg

Welcome to the Authentic Translations Blog


The objective of these blog posts is to help simplify the world of language services. There are many blogs out there that are aimed specifically at translators but few that focus on the end user, so we would like to become a bridge between the world of the linguist and the world of the client. More specifically, we aim to give some guidance on relationships between clients and translators, while answering some of the questions people may have about translation services.

Some of the questions we plan to answer are:
- Where can I find a translator?
- How can I determine if a translator is good if I don't speak the language they translate into?
- What information do I need to provide to receive an accurate translation quote?
- What questions should I ask the translator?
- What questions should the translator be asking me?
- How do translators charge?
- What is the difference between a translator, an interpreter, an editor and a proofreader?
- What is a house style and does my organisation need one?
- What is a certified translation and can it be performed by anyone?

If there are any other questions related to translation, editing or languages that you would like answered, or if you have an idea for an article, please don't hesitate to get in touch at info[at]authentictranslations.co.uk or using the contact forms on this website.

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Blog coming soon

03 July 2017 - Posted by webmaster


Blog under Test.

Still under development
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