Interpreters are often referred to as translators and people are not always aware of the differences between the two professions (interpreters vs translators). How are they different? Interpretation is carried out in real-time (simultaneously) or very close to it (consecutively). Interpreters have very well developed short-term memory retention, good note taking skills, and an exceptional attention span. Generally, they will study a limited number of subjects and become experts in those areas (for example legal or medical). They will also review any complex or technical topics before specific assignments to refresh their real-time recall and vocabulary. Translation occurs after a text…
Passive language refers to the language which the linguist understands (can read and listen to) but not use actively through speech or writing.
Many translators work only in one language direction, from their passive language (acquired later in life) into their active language (native).
Most interpreters are required to have 2 active languages as they are required to listen and speak in both languages, especially during consecutive interpretation which is most frequently used for Q & A sessions. Conference interpreters often interpret into one (active) language as well.