Translation vs. Interpretation

Translation vs. Interpretation: What’s the Difference?

Here at Pendleton Translations we offer both translation as well as interpretation services. Aren’t they one in the same, you ask? While it is a common misconception to think translation and interpretation is one in the same, they are two different concepts. Here are the main differences.


Simply put, translation typically deals with the written form of a language. Whether it’s a legal document, or book, translation from one language to another is through the written word. Often translation on this level may occur with a library of materials or reference books to supplement the translation.


Interpretation deals with the verbal medium of a language. For consecutive interpretation an interpreter will listen to a sentence in one language (source language), grasp it’s meaning and interpret it into another language (target language) for the listener

Another form of interpretation is simultaneous interpretation. This requires the interpreter to listen and process a sentence in the source language. They then relay the sentence in the target language within 5-10 seconds. All forms of interpretation happen on the spot and require complete understanding of both the source language and target language without supplemental aids or references. Interpretation can occur in a variety of social settings including board meetings, legal proceedings, conferences, telephone calls, and much more.

Pendleton Translations is proud to offer both translation and interpretation services globally in over 50 languages! Check out our website for more information on what we do, and why Pendleton should be your first choice.