Many people take a translator to be the same as an interpreter and this is not the case. Much as the translators and interpreters do the similar work of translating from one language to another, the two professionals are not exactly the same people. Each of these professions has its own specifications. In most cases a translator has to be acquainted with interpreting skills. This is because translation first involves interpreting context of the document before writing it in the needed language. On the other an interpreter can do work smoothly with out writing down any text. Therefore, both translators and interpreters are not the same due the approach, skills and methods employed in executing the duties. This makes it too unusual to find one person who can be both a translator and an interpreter.
What are differences between translators and interpreters
To come up with solid differences between translators and interpreters, one has to dig deep in to approach, skills and methods of implementing the duties. Both translators and interpreters receive thorough training but the skills gained are never the same. In fact, both receive training in difference fields.
Translators deal in writing documents from one language to another. For example, translating the document from English to Luganda in any field. This document can be legal, medical, business or any other field. The translator will only translate in to a needed language at a particular time and then back translate in other time if need be. While interpreters deal in translating speeches from one language to another. This speech can be from meetings, ceremonies, training, interviews and others. In simple terms interpreters deal in oral translation of words to other languages. Here, an interpreter can be sometimes required to provide both forward and back translation at the same time. This is mostly common in liaison interpreting.
Translators have time to consult their colleagues, dictionary, search for the meaning of words from the internet and others. Also, translators can involve their colleagues to check for the accuracy of the document. That is to say after translating, the document can be passed to another professional translator to edit. After editing, still the work can be passed to another translator to proofread. So, even if the first translator made some errors, they will be detected and then corrected. Thus, producing quality output. In addition, translators can translate a document for hours, weeks or even months. Interpreters are expected to deliver work on spot. Thus, no time for consultation. This is mostly common in simultaneous interpreting. For other types of interpreting, an interpreter may have time to take notes but may have no time to consult the dictionary, internet, friends or employing checkers. This is because he/she will be expected to deliver the translation as soon as possible. Therefore, an interpreter should be a very quick thinker, quick analyst and too accurate in delivering the speech.
Tools used
Whereas translators use CAT tools like Trados, Word fast, Memsource, MemoQ and others, interpreters use booth, headphones, microphones, pens, paper for taking notes among others. Also, translators can use computers, dictionaries and other tools to gather the text. Interpreters are limited to only equipment in the site and one can not use any other materials to collect the required translation. This makes the work of the translator to be completely different from that of an interpreter.
Payment terms
Translators are mostly paid per word, per hour or per page. But interpreters are paid per hour, or per day. It will be un realistic to pay an interpreter per word because determining the number of words that the interpreter spoke involves another cost of recording and then transcribing. Also paying a translator per day may not be genuine because measuring work done will be difficult.
Therefore, people should stop mixing the duties of translators with those of interpreters in translation industry. Although their duties seem to be similar, there are some remarkable differences that make them distinct. Also its not easy to find one person who is both a translator and an interpreters.

Author's Bio: 

Henry Ogwang is an Account Manager at Global Gate Translations. He has been Account manager since 2015. Henry also works as in-house translator for some Ugandan languages like Luganda. He also writes articles in translation related topics. His articles help to bring awareness and give insight in the field of translation.