But what if we said that, on closer inspection, translation is interpretation? And what interpretation is translation?

Starting from the idea of communication as the internalization of signs and systems of signs belonging to a specific cultural environment, we can certainly state that translation is communication, and that communication is translation: we communicate with words, gestures, signs and symbols, and through means, systems and channels. And we translate words, gestures, signs and symbols, through means, systems and channels. 

But there is more. We have so far talked about translating and interpreting as distinct activities, which require different knowledge, skills and abilities. But what if we said that, on closer inspection, translation is interpretation? And what interpretation is translation?

If we tried to consult the entries in an Italian language dictionary translation and  interpretation, translator and interpreter, to translate and to interpret, we would find interesting food for thought.

In Devoto-Oli, Vocabulary of the Italian language (Le Monnier, 2018) we find that to translate means "transferring, turning a text, a sentence or a word in a language different from the original"; it can be translated to the imprint, to the letter, to the sense. The translator is instead defined as "the performer of a translation", and the translation such as the "transfer of a text in a language other than the original". 

The definitions that the dictionary proposes regarding are also interesting interpret, interpretation, interpreterTo interpret equals "to translate in intelligible terms the essence of an obscure or symbolic text", but also "attribute a meaning, explain", or even "become an interpreter, a spokesman for the feelings or ideas of others". Interpretation equals "translation in terms valid on a cognitive and practical level", sometimes "translation from one language into another". Finally, regarding interpreter, this word is defined as “person who assumes the translation, of a fact or of a document in terms valid on a cognitive or practical level". Here, on the basis of the considerations made so far, we can certainly state that translating is interpreting, and that interpreting is translating: translation and interpretation cannot be distinguished, nor, consequently, the translator and the interpreter. The translator is necessarily an interpreter, whether he is working with an ancient text, a film text or even a piece of music. 

So how hard is it to interpret? Exactly how difficult it is to translate. Two sides of the same coin, two parallel but indistinct worlds.

If you are looking for professionals in the field of translation and interpreting services, Congressi Internazionali has been providing translation and interpreting services throughout the country for more than ten years, for different language combinations and different types of requests. 

We take care of every aspect of your event, from the audio-visual service to selecting the best interpreter, hostess or steward.

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