The Profession

Linguistic competence alone is not sufficient to guarantee the proper transmission of a message when switching from one language to another. That is why it is important to contact experts in inter-linguistic communication:

The Translator

The translator is a professional who translates a text from the source language to the target language, keeps the original meaning as unaltered as possible and uses adaptation procedures as appropriate.


On November 22, 1976 the UNESCO General Conference produced the  Recommendation on the Legal Protection of Translators, Translation and Practical Tools to improve the Status of Translators. For the first time in post-war history, the international community decided to acknowledge translation as a profession and its role in the service of culture and societal development. The Recommendation explains:

>translation: the transposition of a literary or scientific work, including technical work, from one language to another (…);

>translator: the person who translates literary or scientific work from one language to another, including technical works;

> user: the person or legal entity for which a translation is made.

The General Conference of UNESCO ,also, recommends that Member States should take all necessary measures to recognize, promote and protect translations, as well encourage networks and associations for translators.

Translation today

The translation market today separates the translator into three types:

> editorial translator works with literary/ non-fiction texts for a publishing house;

> technical-scientific translator works with text not intended for a general readership, such as manuals, user manuals, contracts, budgets, tenders, reports, commercial relations and correspondence, medical and pharmacological documentation, games, etc…;

> localisation-translator is a technical-scientific translator who translates and transposes web sites and multimedia contents.

The Interpreter

The interpreter is “the one who translates orally from a source language to a target language, carries out, then, an activity called interpretation.

The History

The first person to act as an interpreter probably lived during the Tower of Babel period. Besides the rich variety of languages, it has perhaps an interesting variety of names probably derived from Babel: an interpreter is often called a translator, simultaneous translator/interpreter, simultaneous or consecutive, legal or court interpreter.

Interpretation today

Today, interpretation can be classified into two types, which in turn have further meanings depending on the professional figure:

Conference interpretation

> simultaneous interpreting: the interpreter works with a console equipped with headphones and a microphone to translate simultaneously the speaker’s speech. Often, in this case, the interpreter works in a soundproof booth;

> consecutive interpreting: the interpreter listens to little portions of text, takes notes and repeats the speech when the speaker pauses.

> whisper interpreting: the interpreter joins a small group of listeners and whispers the translation to them while the speaker talks.

Liaison interpreting

The interpreter is the link between two or more persons in a conversation, listens and memorizes brief passages in the source language and immediately translates them into the target language.