What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

25 Oct 2018

Today, we wanted to take a moment to share some information on the differences between translation and interpreting, as well as examples of when to use these professional services.

Speech vs. Text

The difference between translation and interpretation can be fuzzy if you haven’t got a chance to use any of them before. Although, both translation and interpretation convey information from one language to another, in reality, they have two distinct roles to play in certain situations.

Simply speaking, the major difference is that interpreting refers to spoken language, while translators deal with written text. Thus, when arranging business meetings with your international clients, for example, a translator can render your documents into the target language while an interpreter allows real-time multilingual communication.

Still doesn’t sound so familiar?

Translation nowadays is seamlessly woven into our daily lives like, foreign films with subtitles or imported goods with translated labels. So what about interpreting?

You may have seen somebody whispering into someone else’s ear at an international conference or someone in a booth wearing a dual headphone and looking busy. That person is likely to be an interpreter.

But the thing is, interpretation services aren’t as hard to access to anymore. With Oyraa, a remote interpretation platform, you get access to professional interpreters 24/7 with an average cost of around $1 per minute.

That means, professional interpretation services are not only an option for celebs and politicians: they’re for you, too!


Rina is our contributor at Oyraa. Originally from Tokyo, she used to be an account executive at a tech company but followed her passion for languages after attending conferences in Singapore and the United States. She has since then become a translator and has lived in Honolulu, Dublin and now Lausanne.

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