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Translator or Interpreter, Which One is Right for You?

Translator or Interpreter, Which One is Right for You? was originally published on

Whats the difference between a translator and an interpreter? No this is not the set up for a joke…

Is there a difference between interpreter and translator

Understanding the Role of Language in Legal Systems

If you’re like most sane people, you’re probably thinking… They’re the same thing! You figure, “that’s just taking something done in one language and changing it over to another.

While they both seem like the same thing, the nuances between the two make huge differences in what is done.

Let me tell you a story. Back in 2012, the Supreme Court heard the case of Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd, after this guy…


Fell through a deck at this Resort…

deck crash

table crash

Marianas Resort and Spa

The resort won the judgment and as a result was asking for $5,000 for translating documents into Japanese, and based their claim upon Title 28 U.S.C. §1920(6).

However… The court held that the statute applied strictly to interpreter’s fees and that they were not able to recover those fees for translating the documents.  Essentially, they were affirming that there is indeed a legal difference between a translator and an interpreter.

So Whats the Difference?

infograph of translator vs interpreterAccording to an interpreter is a person who provides an oral translation between speakers who speak different languages, and a translator is one who translates. Hmm, not much of a definition, I know, but that’s what it says. Seriously, Google it.

So How Do You Know Which One You Need?

When deciding if you need a translator or an interpreter, remember that a translator works with written communication and an interpreter translates oral conversation.

The difference can be tremendous and the skill set needed can make or break your next deposition. So what’s your next step now that you know which one you need. You’re in luck because that’s the easy part. You should pick up your phone and give us a call or visit our translation services page and we can help you find the very best choice to meet your interpreter or translator needs.


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