Interpreting and translation services – What they are and who can provide them?

Today, without a shadow of a doubt, we live in a world which is almost completely globalised. With rapid developments and increased usage of technology, in both – our professional as well as private lives, we often deal with people and organisations which are based overseas and speak in a different language than us. In fact, more than 70% of respondents asked said that they regularly purchase goods or services from companies which are located internationally.

With a truly great ease in international trade and a large global marketplace, however, come certain communication challenges. Businesses and organisations must meet the market’s expectations in order to be successful overseas. This, as a result, means that reliable and fast communication in the clients’ native language is absolutely necessary.

To achieve this, more and more businesses in the United Kingdom turn to professional translation companies. In 2022, working directly with a translation agency is for many a key and inseparable part of running a successful international organisation. In fact, we have previously written about the corporate industries that require language translations most frequently, you can read about it here.

Converting and adapting documents, marketing materials, websites or even financial reports into another language is nowadays often incorporated into many companies’ annual budget. Despite the growing popularity of language translation services, there still seems to a fair amount of confusion amongst business owners when it comes to the different types of language solutions available, and more specifically, between translation and interpreting services.

Today, in order to help you better understand these particular nuances, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key differences between these two language services and also explore the best possible ways of acquiring a professional translation service agency suitable for you particular documents.

Language translation or interpreting – which service do you need?

The key difference between translation and interpreting is actually pretty obvious, however, many people are still getting the two services confused. Interestingly, although some of the skills shared between translators and interpreters are somewhat similar, the general skillset required to provide both services is almost completely different.

Generally speaking, a translation service refers to the conversion of written text and documents into another language. For example, legal papers, financial reports or international marketing content. Imagine that you find this article so captivating, that you then wish to share it with your friends or family aboard. If they don’t speak English however, you’ll have to get it translated. Interpreting, on the other hand, deals with spoken word, so you may need it if you attend a conference or a business meeting where your partners/interviewers speak in a different language.

Who can provide these services?

As we have mentioned above, the general skillset required to provide both services is almost entirely different, despite some very small similarities between them. As a result, it is very unlikely that one linguist will be able to provide both services at the same time. Alternatively, it is possible to work with expert translation agencies, which are generally speaking able to offer both solutions simultaneously.

·       Freelancers

Generally, it is very unlikely that a freelance linguist will be able to offer both translation and interpreting services simultaneously. Consequently, if you need to convert written materials, for example legal documents, and then follow up with a business meeting, you will need to approach two separate freelance suppliers – in this case – a freelance translator and an interpreter.

Additionally, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that the chosen freelance translator/interpreter is not only a native speaker of the target language, but also have an in-depth understanding of your particular business sector. As every corporate industry tends to have its very own specific jargon, this will allow the linguists to convert any corporate terminology accurately.

To make things even more complicated, if your documents are in, or need to be translated into, more than one language, this will require you to approach a separate freelancer for each of the languages you require, and so things can quickly get really intricate.

·       Translation companies

All of the issues described above can, fortunately, however be solved simply by working directly with expert translation agencies specialising in rendering corporate materials and content.

As a result of thumb, established translation agencies are able to cover an extremely wide range of both languages and document types across practically all business industries, allowing you to acquire all required language solutions within one platform.

Regardless of your content, whether it’s a website, legal document or a financial report or all of these at once, approaching and partnering with a professional company may save you a lot of time and money in the long run, despite initially being more expensive than finding a freelance translator.

Best language translation service agencies in the UK (2022)

  • TransPerfect UK (TP-UK)
  • Translation Services 24 (TS24)
  • Language Line

If you require a professional language translation or interpretation service, you’re in luck. In the United Kingdom, and especially in London, the number of globally recognised translation providers and companies, which guarantee the highest industry standards and that are trusted by the world’s most recognisable brands is high and continuously growing. One of the UK’s most established translation and interpretation agencies is Translation Services 24 (TS24 UK), which offers their solutions to UK based as well as international clients in more than 200 different languages, across practically any business sector and all document types. Other, agencies such as “TransPerfect” or “Language-Line” are also amongst the largest and fastest growing global companies, and so they are able to provide an extremely wide range of translations.

All of the companies mentioned above are not only widely recognised as leading experts in the translation industry, but they also offer other linguistic services such as Localization, Desktop Publishing or Transcreation. As a result, you can find the most comprehensive language solution, all on one platform.

What to look for in a language translation service provider

Regardless of whether you decide to partner with an established translation agency or choose to work with freelance translators and interpreter, there are certain factors which are true to both and which indicate that your chosen provider is able to offer the highest accuracy and reliability of their service.

A key aspect to pay attention to when selecting a language service provider are their official memberships and accreditations.

In the United Kingdom, freelance linguists should be registered with professional associations for translators/interpreters, for example, the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) or the CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists). A truly great resource that can help you in finding a professional translator is, which is the UK’s largest database of freelance linguists and even some companies.

Translation agencies, on the other hand, must be officially registered with associations such as the ATC (Association of Translation Companies), ATA or possess an ISO certification, which indicates the highest industry expertise and standards. You can also visit this website, which is another truly fantastic resource allowing you to find the best translation agencies in the United Kingdom.

Let’s recap!

Professional translation and interpreting are two completely separate services, which require an almost completely unique skillsets. Translations deal with written text and documents, such as legal papers, contracts, marketing materials or websites, whilst interpretation focuses on the spoken word, so meetings, business conferences or interviews.

Regardless of whichever language service you require, the most popular option is to work directly with a translation agency, as they are generally able to cover all required languages and translation types. If you are indeed looking for an expert company, we strongly recommend contacting one the agencies mentioned earlier in this article.

Alternatively, and this may perhaps be somewhat more relevant for smaller businesses with a limited budgets, contacting freelance translators though databases such as can also a relatively effective option.