Translators and Interpreters/Übersetzer und Dolmetscher

Translators write and interpreters speak. This simple difference is often ignored in the press - usually by calling interpreters translators. An amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court goes into the distinction in detail. Its main subject is that interpreting costs are easier for courts to administer than are interpreting costs. The case is Louichi Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. and the brief is by NAJIT, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner. A PDF can be downloaded from NAJIT's website as amicusbrief.pdf (36 pages).
At its most basic level, the distinction between interpreters and translators is simple: Interpreters speak, while translators write. As a result, interpreters must possess different skills from those of translators. Interpreters must have the “analytical skills, mental dexterity” and “exceptional memory” necessary to interpret spoken words from one language into another in real time. The act of translating a document from one language to another, however, is a more research-oriented, meticulous process ...
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