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  1. Member
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    #1

    Question Difference between interpreter and translator

    Hi there,

    Are these two words, "interpret" and "translate", used interchangably in English? As far as I know an interpreter intetprets oral/spoken language but a traslator translates written texts. So I wonder if the following sentence is correct:


    "Jack is an intetpreter. He translates short stories".

    I wonder if we can use "translates" in this sentence or we should only use "interprets".

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Difference between interpreter and translator

    Jack is not an interpreter (in the sense you mean) if he only translates short stories. He's a translator. As a literary analyst though, he must interpret the story to translate it. That's a different meaning of 'interpret'.
    The definitions in your first paragraph are correct.

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    #3

    Re: Difference between interpreter and translator

    Everyone who works in the field knows the difference between interpreters and translators, but many others don't. The words are mixed up very frequently. You should use them correctly, but don't expect that others will.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Difference between interpreter and translator

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Jack is not an interpreter (in the sense you mean) if he only translates short stories. He's a translator. As a literary analyst though, he must interpret the story to translate it. That's a different meaning of 'interpret'.
    The definitions in your first paragraph are correct.

    Would you please answer these two questions:

    1. "As a literary analyst though, he must interpret the story to translate it. That's a different meaning of 'interpret'"
    Do you mean that "interpret" in this context mean "construe"?


    2. So if we had the following sentence in a test what would be the correct answer? Which would be the correct answer "translates" or "interprets"?

    "Jack is an intetpreter. He ........... short stories".

    3. Do all English native speakers know the difference between "translate" and "interpret" and use them correctly or do they mix them up as some may not be specialist?

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    #5

    Re: Difference between interpreter and translator

    Quote Originally Posted by Venus.jam View Post
    Would you please answer these two questions:

    <SNIP>

    3. Do all English native speakers know the difference between "translate" and "interpret" and use them correctly or do they mix them up as some may not be specialist?
    I answered the third of your two questions here.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Difference between interpreter and translator

    1. Interpret means to determine the meaning of something. Even in one's own language, if it's a difficult text, or ambiguous, you might ask someone, "How do you interpret this?" Yes, 'construe' is one way of putting it.

    2. I don't know. That wouldn't be a fair question. You don't have to be an interpreter to construe a meaning.

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