Poll: Which is more challenging?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:31
Sep 21, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which is more challenging?".

This poll was originally submitted by Firas Allouzi. View the poll results »


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I perform only one of these services Sep 21, 2014

I once accepted a one and a half day interpretation assignment for a deposition primarily because it involved automobiles and discussion centered around quality assurance and inspection procedures, which I'm quite well-versed in.

The questioning went like this during the entire proceedings:

Lawyer: Do you think that road testing procedures in your company are adequate? Please answer 'Yes' or 'No.'
Witness: Well, please let me answer first by explaining that ....... [End of statement arrives 5 minutes later.]

Coupled with the fact that the other interpreter had already spent four whole days with the witness while he was being preped by his company's attorney for the deposition, and I went in 'cold' after having only read related discovery information, I can state categorically that I will never do interpreting ever again.

I think interpreting is not even closely related to translation - two completely different skillsets are required.

Yours jadedly - once bitten twice shy

Added 1 word

[Edited at 2014-09-22 07:41 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 10:31
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 21, 2014

Can’t really compare both of them since I have been a full-time translator for the last 30 years, so I have no idea how much (or less) challenging the other one is! I suppose it depends on the nature of the assignment or task…


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:31
Russian to English
+ ...
Both are equally challenging, but in different ways Sep 21, 2014

If you are afraid of speaking in front of huge crowds, or forget things, easily get lost, and then panic--interpreting might be much more challenging for you., plus you really need close to "native" fluency in both languages.

Translation is challenging with respect to writing--you have to develop a good writing style, plus be very detail-oriented.

[Edited at 2014-09-21 09:22 GMT]


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Other Sep 21, 2014

I am a translator and have been for nearly 4 decades. However, I have done some interpreting and must say that this profession is not for me. If need be, I'm always willing to help out, but would never claim that I was an interpreter, while I am definately a translator. These are 2 different professions.icon_wink.gif


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Interpreting Sep 21, 2014

In fact, I haven't done any for years. I much prefer translating form the comfort of home.


Rosa Paredes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Translating vs interpreting Sep 22, 2014

I do both and have been doing both for over 20 years. I can say that while both share some requisites and difficulties, interpreting, specially simultaneous conference interpreting is more challenging due to the level of sustained concentration and multitasking needed. In addition, clients seem to think that if you speak both languages, you must be able to interpret anything and everything, as if one were a walking multilingual encyclopedia (the same applies to translations, IMO). The key to success is not to get overly confident, even when you are familiar with the topic. I'd say one full day of interpretation requires 2 full days of preparation in order to get a sound understanding of the topic (hence the rates). It also helps to know your booth partner and booth etiquette, and to have a common plan on how to tackle the assignment.
The adrenaline rush from working in a booth can be addictiveicon_smile.gif


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:31
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have no doubt about it Sep 22, 2014

I do both things, although a lot more translating than interpreting, but I have no doubt about interpreting being a lot more challenging.

I mean, isnt' it a lot different to work with a computer with millions of sites, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. to refer to, having 5 minutes to find a translation if you need, and translating without any help or reference and having a few seconds to devise a fit translation?

Isn't it a lot different to work at home away from any public or client and to work live, in front of your client and other people, with critical eyes focusing on you?

I introduce myself as a translator to all clients, and I"ll accept interpretation jobs, if they show up. But I'll tell you, to be an interpreter, you have to be an experienced and self-assured professional. There is no room in interpretation for insecurity and hesitation. And your breaks are defined by the client, not by you.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: Which is more challenging?

Advanced search

SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search