What is the difference between a translator and an interpreter?

It is not uncommon for people to use these terms interchangeably. However, a translator and an interpreter are very different.

Translators take written text from a source language and translate and rewrite the content into the target language.

Interpreters’ skills are with spoken/oral language. Interpreters listen to the person speaking in the source language and grasps the content and meaning. They then orally relay the information in the target language.

What is the difference between translation, interpretation and transcription?


Translators work with written documents to change the writing into the target language. The key skills of the translator include the ability to comprehend the source language as well as the culture of the country where the text originated. Translators often use a library of glossaries and reference tools, to produce their final translation.


Interpreters listen to words vocalized and modify them into the target language orally. An interpreter must be able to interpret in both directions on the spot, without using dictionaries or other supplemental reference materials.


Transcribers listen to a recording of something and type its contents into a document. This serves as a written record of the recording. This involves transcribing recordings in a source language such as English or many foreign languages as well as translating and transcribing from one language to another.

Why do I need to work with a professional linguist (translator or interpreter)?

Someone without the relevant education and technical training is not likely to read and understand certain types of documents or relay information adequately for the needs of a particular situation. Simply knowing the language is not sufficient; the linguist must understand the subject matter, be able to communicate in an appropriate manner, and do simultaneously or consecutively remembering what has been said.

What is the difference between a consecutive and simultaneous interpreter?

A consecutive interpreter interprets after the speaker has finished speaking a short segment.

A simultaneous interpreter will interpret while the speaker is speaking with a delay of a few seconds.

What is telephonic interpreting?

Telephonic interpreting is using an interpreter over the phone, either through a three–way call, speaker phone or a phone with more than one headset.

How long does it take to reach a telephonic interpreter through Quantel?

Depending on the rarity of the language, it may take from a few seconds to a few minutes to be connected with a telephonic interpreter.

How does Quantum provide video interpretation?

Quantum provides interpreters by scheduled video through Quantum's client website portal and through client's choice of videoconferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, and others, which are used for various purposes, including telemedicine and meetings.

Does quantum charge for translation project quotes?

No; translation quotes/estimates are provided free of charge if an electronic or faxed copy of the document is submitted. Once the document is received, Quantum will analyze the file to prepare a proper cost assessment, estimate turnaround times and determine any other factors that may affect the translation process. To send files and specifications, Request a Quote

How do I receive the documents once they are translated into the target language?

Translations are typically e-mailed to the client in the original file format that was provided, unless the client requests another format.