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Poll: Do you have two separate words for "interpreter" and "translator" in your language(s)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:22
SITE STAFF
Oct 6, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you have two separate words for "interpreter" and "translator" in your language(s)?".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:22
Member
German to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 6, 2011

Er, they are 'interpreter' and 'translator'!

 

Antonio Fajardo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:22
Member (2011)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Oct 6, 2011

In all the languages I know, yes.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:22
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Danish even has three! Oct 6, 2011

Interpreter: tolk

Translator: oversætter

State Authorized Translator (protected title): Translatør.

A Translatør may also be an Autoriseret Tolk og Translatør, i.e. also an authorised interpreter.


 

TranslatorJames  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Which languages don't have? Oct 6, 2011

At the time of asking there had been 40 replies and 12.5% had said no. Nobody had entered a discussion about which ones don't.

Aiuto! Which languages don't distinguish these two professions?


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 13:22
English to French
+ ...
Yes Oct 6, 2011

... but that does not mean the general public uses both or makes a difference
In the long run, I am afraid French will only use "traducteur" and forget all about "interprète" when speaking about languages, keeping the latter only for music.


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 14:22
Turkish to English
+ ...
Turkish Oct 6, 2011

TranslatorJames wrote:

At the time of asking there had been 40 replies and 12.5% had said no. Nobody had entered a discussion about which ones don't.

Aiuto! Which languages don't distinguish these two professions?


Turkish, for one.


 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:22
Member
German to English
+ ...
True Oct 6, 2011

Interlangue wrote:

... but that does not mean the general public uses both or makes a difference
In the long run, I am afraid French will only use "traducteur" and forget all about "interprète" when speaking about languages, keeping the latter only for music.


The distinction is rarely made here (UK) either. If I tell people I'm a translator they think it's a glamorous role heading off to war-torn parts or accompanying celebrities!


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 6, 2011

The distinction exists in the languages I speak (English, Portuguese, and Spanish), but getting people to honor the distinction is another story.

 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
In memoriam
Russian Oct 6, 2011

for another, has only one word for both.

 

Sandra Petch
Local time: 13:22
French to English
+ ...
Confusion Oct 6, 2011

Interlangue wrote:

... but that does not mean the general public uses both or makes a difference
In the long run, I am afraid French will only use "traducteur" and forget all about "interprète" when speaking about languages, keeping the latter only for music.


On occasions, when I've told people I'm a translator, they gush how impressed they are, how hard it must be sitting there with the headphones on, simultaneously "translating"... Once I explain that these are interpreters, they are no longer so impressed. One person even said, "Oh yeah, I speak English, I could do your job." (On a side note, a Hungarian woman told me she could never be a translator as she had "too much personality"!). * Sigh *


 

Ahmad Hosseinzadeh  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 15:52
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
Persian (Farsi) Oct 6, 2011

Hi,
In Persian (Farsi) we have one word (originally Arabic), "Motarjem" for indicating both, but in case of ambiguity we add the adjective "Katbi" (literally "written") or "Shafahi" (literally "oral") for solving the problem.


 

Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:22
French to English
Two words... Oct 6, 2011

... though you wouldn't know it if you relied on the media...

 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:22
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Curious Oct 6, 2011

Tagalog uses "tagasalin" for both. It originally applied to a practitioner of the oral activity, so you can't qualify "interpreting", just "translation" (the opposite of Persian).

 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:22
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not about the media Oct 6, 2011

Stephanie Mitchel wrote:

... though you wouldn't know it if you relied on the media...


In English, the word "translator" has traditionally referred to both written and spoken translators. In other words, excluding our professional jargon, "interpreter" is a subset of "translator" in any kind of natural English.

Since the 20th century, our profession has attempted to impose a distinction that never previously existed in English (or in most languages, I imagine). For people who generally claim to take a descriptive view of language, we're way off the mark on this one.

[Edited at 2011-10-06 14:58 GMT]


 
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