Translation VS Interpretation: What’s the Difference?

Translation VS Interpretation: What’s the Difference?

Faced with the dilemma of the terms “translation” and “interpretation” often being used interchangeably in the Translation Industry, we have taken the time to clarify the words, especially as in some languages, the same word is used for both interpretation and translation.


This is the process of translating written text from one language to another.


This is an auditory process in which speech is converted from one language to another. There are many kinds of interpretation, but the ones we encounter on a frequent basis relate to events and fall into two major categories:

Consecutive Interpretation – In this process, the interpreter will stand beside the speaker and repeat each sentence or segment of a speech/course in the target language.

Simultaneous Interpretation – This entails a soundproof booth and sophisticated equipment connected to the main sound system. Interpreters work in pairs and take shifts to interpret a speech into the target language while the speaker is still speaking! Delegates who select to hear the speech in the target language (i.e. those who will not understand the language of the speaker) will receive the feed in the target language via a headset and receiver provided to them.


In the following spontaneous and entertaining video clip (filmed on site), Red Sea Translation’s CEO Adel Alhaimi explains the various concepts in greater detail.