[Grammar] Interpreter/translator OF/IN Chinese

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englishhobby

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If a person works as an interpreter (translator) to and from Chinese, can I say that he is an interpreter IN Chinese? Or is OF the preposition here? Or both variants are possible to convey this idea?
 

Grumpy

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You could use either, but more normally one would just refer to the person as a "Chinese Interpreter".
I know that that may leave the question of the individual's nationality open [eg, is he a Chinese man who translates from X into Y, or is he an American who translates from Chinese to English?], but the context will generally make things clear.
 

Tdol

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Or He interprets Chinese, which resolves the nationality issue with the adjective.
 

emsr2d2

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Or He interprets Chinese, which resolves the nationality issue with the adjective.

I have to say that makes me think that the person "works out the figurative meaning of works written or presented in Chinese". That's always been my problem with using "to interpret". It reminds me of "That is how I've always interpreted Picasso" etc - not the same thing as translation.
 

englishhobby

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In Webster Online Dictionary "translator" is defined as a person "who changes words written in one language into a different language, and "interpreter" - as a person who "translates the words that someone is speaking into a different language". Can't they be interchangeable?
 

Barb_D

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I'm quite willing to bet that many native speakers use them interchangeably and would be surprised that one applied only to the written word and one to the spoken word.
 

englishhobby

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Thank you, Barb_D!
 

5jj

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I'm quite willing to bet that many native speakers use them interchangeably and would be surprised that one applied only to the written word and one to the spoken word.
I agree. However, as one who has worked as both, I always use the words in the way defined in that dictionary.
 

Tdol

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Me too, though I have only done translation. ;-)
 

TheParser

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***** NOT A TEACHER *****



Hello, Englishhobby:



You may be interested in this passage from a scholarly book that I found in the "books" section of Google:


The interpreter should state before starting to interpret in both languages: "I am an interpreter of languages

X and Y and I will translate everything you say, without adding, omitting or altering anything to your words.

I am neutral and I am not allowed to take sides."


Source: Testing and Assessment in Translation (2009) by Mesdames Claudia Angelelli and Holly E. Jacobson.


James


P.S. I underscored the preposition "of," not the authors.
 
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