What’s the difference between translation and interpretation?

Many people may refer to the act of interpreting and translating as simply translation. However, there is a subtle difference. Translation applies to the written word and interpretation to the spoken word. Some argue that a distinction should be made. It could also be argued that interpretation isn’t possible without initially translating, first finding the equivalent words and then providing the cultural and topical context around them.

INTERPRETING comes in many shapes and forms. How do I know which best suits my needs?



In standard simultaneous mode, the interpreter sits in a booth with a clear view of the meeting room and the speaker. He or she listens to and simultaneously interprets the speech into a target language. Standard simultaneous interpreting requires a booth (fixed or mobile) that meets ISO/IEC standards for sound insulation, dimensions, air quality and accessibility as well as for the appropriate equipment (headphones, microphones).


This refers to any conference whose participants are located at several different venues (including those present in the conference room and others who are attending the meeting remotely). Thanks to hybrid meetings, every attendee will be able to interact and communicate at the event by using the appropriate technology, whether or not he/she is physically present at the venue.


It may not always be practical – or even possible – for interpreters and participants to be present at the same location. Developments in technology have made remote modalities of interpreting more feasible, with dedicated digital platforms now available which offer remote interpretations options that are constantly being updated and improved. Live-streaming or recorded broadcasting offers the attendees the option to listen to the meeting or conference interpretation into one or several languages.


Visitors to a country who do not speak the local language may require assistance in a relatively informal context. This is known as liaison interpreting. As a less structured form of interpreting, liaison requires no special equipment, nor does it demand an elephantine memory since what is said tends to be interpreted sentence by sentence. Even more informally, 'interpreter-guides', otherwise known as 'accompanying guides' are sometimes employed in the tourist trade to accompany individuals or groups and provide them with cultural, historical and artistic information as well as to help them communicate with local people.


An essential element of consecutive interpreting is note-taking. In consecutive mode, the interpreter notes down what has just been said in the form of symbols, simple words and abbreviations in order to help him/her remember the contents of the speech and then delivers his/her rendition immediately after the original speaker concludes or reaches a momentary pause.

What is meant by the term "transcreation"?

Transcreation can be defined as a translation that is enhanced by creativity and a clear focus on style, register, and emotive impact. The final text is modified to create a perfect fit for a new audience or group of users from a particular country, region or sector of society. High-impact marketing content is meant to influence its audience and win them over while support content is designed to be informational and descriptive. The former appeals to the emotions while the latter is rational and information-driven. Marketing translation needs to be snappy, sharp, fresh, distinct and creative and, as such, requires the use of transcreative elements. Transcreation is an even freer and more creative process that leverages the translator’s ability to transcend language and cultural boundaries, paramount to achieving an effective global market strategy.