Translation is the act of rendering a written text of any nature from one language, the source language, into another language, the target language, in order to transmit the equivalent message.
- Translators work on written documents. There are several types of translation - administrative, literary, scientific, and technical among others - depending on the nature of the message and its intended use.
- Interpretation is the act of ensuring the oral transmission of a spoken message from one language to another, either simultaneously or consecutively (after each speaker has spoken).
As with translation, there are different types of interpretation, the best known of which are parliamentary interpretation, court interpretation and conference interpretation.
- Terminology is the systematic study of the labelling or designating of concepts particular to one or more subject fields through research and analysis, for the purpose of documenting and promoting correct usage.
Above and beyond the distinctions between the professions are certain qualities that must be shared by all those who practice these professions: excellent knowledge of the source and target languages, wide-ranging general knowledge, familiarity with the context of the documents being translated, and an in-depth knowledge of reference works and documentary resources.