Difference between translator and interpreter

The translation profession can be divided into two branches : translation and interpretation.

Although both branches can perform the change foreign languages ​​into Vietnamese, their skills and roles are completely different.

Let’s find out the characteristics and differences between translation and interpretation.


Translation is the change of text document from one language into another.

Targets of translation: Types of documents include Menus, contracts, manuals, Websites, books, subtitles, comic books, etc.

In addition to knowledge in foreign language, t jobs also require translators to have essential skills as follows:

    Firstly, it is lingustic skills and comprehensive ability for the content of the originals. Translators should need to have abilities to read and understand what the document wants to convey in its entirety.

    Secondly, it is writing skills. Translators need to have skills in refering to the customs and cultures of both languages, thereby supplementing the original text if there are word repetitions or omissions, especially changing the word order, or shortening it so that the text becomes easier inteligability.

    Thirdly, it is communication skills. Communication is often considered as an unnecessary skill for translation work, but this is a essential skill for translators if any question or regconizing unreasonable points, in order to create high-quality translations.

    Fourthly, it is the ability to research, select words, and pay attention to all details in the document.


Interpretation is the change of the speaker’s language into the listener’s language, so that speakers of different languages ​​can communicate easily.

Events that often require an interpreter are international ceremonies, inspections, business negotiations, seminars and conferences.

Since it requires immediate translation, unlike translation, interpretation requires quick response.

In addition to foreign language skills, interpretation also requires translators to have necessary skills as follow:

    Firstly, it is self confidence. Interpreters must be able to speak in any situation without hesitation, and self confidently stand in front of a crowd.

    Secondly, it is flexible communication skills. Interpreters need to communicate perceptively, such as changing expressions, changing words to convey a message in a short and limited time.

    In addition, sometimes, interpreters may meet clients who are not conformable to their personality, so they need to have strong skills to see and communicate smartly with customers.


Interpretation and translatation have different characteristics.

There needs to fully understand the characteristics of each branch and choose a branch that suits your thinking and personality!