“Interpret” vs. “Translate”: What’s the Difference?

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The difference between “interpret” and “translate”

  • In the translation industry, interpreters deal with spoken language, while translators deal with written language.
  • When looking at the words themselves outside of the context of the translation industry, "interpret" aims to explain the meaning of a message, and "translate" aims to convert a message into another language while keeping its meaning intact.
  • Interpretation relies on one's subjective understanding and analysis of a message, whereas translation focuses on producing an accurate transfer of words from one language to another.
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What is the definition of “interpret” and “translate”?

  • Interpretation refers to explaining or analyzing the meaning of something such as a work of art, text, symbols, or an abstract idea.
  • It involves using one's own understanding and insight to make sense of the information provided by someone else or by oneself.
  • Interpretation can involve different approaches depending on the context, such as literary interpretation, legal interpretation, musical interpretation, or cultural interpretation.
  • Translation refers to the process of rendering written or spoken text into another language or dialect while preserving its meaning and tone.
  • It involves understanding the source text, its cultural and linguistic nuances, and the target language's grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.
  • Translators aim to produce accurate and faithful renderings of the original text that are culturally appropriate and readable for the target audience.

Which is the more popular variant on the Internet?

“Translate” is the more popular variant on the web.
362,000,000 results on the web
  1. The students had trouble interpreting the difficult literature.
  2. I often misinterpret text messages from my friends.
  3. The detective had to interpret the meaning behind the suspect's cryptic words.
More popular
1,220,000,000 results on the web
  1. My friend helped me translate the menu at the foreign restaurant.
  2. She spent hours translating the ancient manuscript into modern English.
  3. The software can translate a document from French to Spanish with just one click.
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