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Translating and interpreting: One object, different approaches

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Over the centuries, interaction between people of different linguistic backgrounds has thriven on the process of translating and interpreting. Wherever people have lived, these language-based activities have continued to promote communication among them, the barrier which the multiplicity of language has caused notwithstanding.

This paper takes a look at translating and interpreting within the context of their origin, status, audience, modus operandi, etc. Whereas translating involves the process of writing on paper and is based on a given text, interpreting takes place orally and is not based on any written text. Whereas translating allows for the documentation and preservation of material in a written form for future readers, interpreting takes place on the spot. Whereas translating calls for an audience of readers, interpreting calls for an audience of listeners.

The paper argues that though approached differently, the overall aim of translating and interpreting is to build a linguistic bridge among people and nations; to reduce the communication gap among them. It concludes that in spite of the operational variations their singular aim has always been semantics – the search for meaning between different linguistic parties in different settings. The psycholinguistic model serves as methodology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Revue internationale de la traduction / International Journal of Translation
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