The difference between translators and interpreters

October 13, 2015 by

Here's a video I recorded of a speech I gave recently. It's about the difference between translators and interpreters, their individual roles and unique skills.

It's about five minutes long and is my first attempt at a video. It was a learning experience โ€“ I definitely need to work on my recording and presentation skills! I hope you enjoy it anyway.

About the author: Jayne Fox is a German-English translator specialising in corporate communications for sci-tech and health care. She works with German and Swiss organisations to help them communicate effectively with international audiences.

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  1. Charlotte Coombe

    Nice little video - well done! I might refer people this whenever they think I can do interpreting as well as translation - lots of people don't know the difference when I say I am a translator... They think the professions are interchangeable. I could never do the job of an interpreter, not least because I would hate the pressure and quickfire nature of it!

    • Jayne Fox

      Thanks Charlotte, same here! They're such different roles, with very different skills. Being a translator is SO much more my thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lorna O'Donoghue

    Well done Jayne. Another big difference between translators and interpreters, in my view, is the visibility aspect. Interpreters are out there in the public eye while translators are busy working behind the scenes, largely invisible behind their laptops. But you're changing that with this video. It's nice to see the face behind the name ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jayne Fox

      Thanks Lorna! Yes, good point - and making translators more visible is my intention. Now I've had a go at my first video, I know what to work on for next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jesse

    Dear Jayne:

    Great video! Bravo! Your tone, volume and delivery were very good. Good rhythm.

    • Jayne Fox

      Thanks for your kind feedback, Jesse! It took me way out of my comfort zone, but it's a good way to learn!

  4. Mandy Hewett

    Jayne, you are such a fantastic communicator. You have given a beautiful explanation of the two professions. I liked the pace of your video presentation too. Keep up the good work!

    • Jayne Fox

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Mandy. I'm not used to the medium and feel like I have a lot to work on, but it's a great learning experience. I'll keep on it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Judy Jenner

    Nice video, Jayne! These always come in handy to explain this important difference. If I had a dime for every time I have pontificated about this subject, I'd be sitting on a tropical beach, sipping a cocktail out of a coconut. And you are so brave to do this video for the first time. Well done! Something that really helps me is not using notes and just speaking freely because it's less stressful (to me). I always tell myself that the audience doesn't know what I was *going* to say, so it doesn't matter. You might also like recording speeches to help others practice interpreting at It's a great resource for the community and it has made me more comfortable in front of the camera, too.

    • Jayne Fox

      Thanks Judy, that's a good point! Must remember that for next time... ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Minnie Desaivre

    Great explanation, Jayne! May I share?

    • Jayne Fox

      Yes of course, please do!

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German-to-English translator specialising in medical and technical translation and corporate communications
Welcome to my blog, Between Translations! I'm Jayne Fox, German-English translator specialising in sci-tech, health care & corporate communications.
I work with clients from around the world. From my location in New Zealand, I translate overnight for European customers.
See my websites for more information.
Sci-tech translation and corporate comms:
Medical translation:
Email: jayne(at)