Translation Services Or Interpreting Services?

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We had a bit of a shock yesterday. It isn’t that uncommon for customers to phone up unsure whether they need translation services or interpreting services. However, a representative of a large national translation agency contacted us, and confused the two! We find this quite worrying. Even basic staff induction for translation agency employees should explain the difference between these two areas of work.

The agency were looking to speak to other translation companies about collaboration on larger interpreting contracts. However, they clearly hadn’t briefed their member of staff properly. She gave us the impression that they wanted to talk about collaboration in delivering translation services. This is fundamentally different.

So what’s the difference? Do you need translation services or interpreting services?


Interpreting is the spoken skill.  You convey speech in one language, and give the same meaning in another language.

Interpreting can be done in several ways. For example conference interpreting, where the interpreter sits in a booth. People can then listen in on headphones. In telephone interpreting, the interpreter is present in a telephone conference. In consecutive interpreting, one person speaks, and then the interpreter interprets.


By contrast, translation is working with written material, whatever the format. You supply a document and we translate it from one language to another. Or, as with much of our work, we may translate it into a number of languages.

Our interpreting services

We only offer a limited interpreting service, in order to serve our regular commercial clients. We don’t offer public service interpreting, this is because we pay interpreters at commercial rates. Sadly the Ministry of Justice don’t. Interpreters are highly skilled people. They normally have a specialism as well as holding a post graduate level qualification.

Find out more

This is a very brief explanation. More information about translation can be found on our dedicated translation services page. Alternatively feel free to contact us on +44 115 9788980, or use our contact form.