An interpreter is a practitioner of interpreting, an activity that consists of establishing, either simultaneously or consecutively, oral or gestural communications between two or more speakers who are not speaking (or signing) the same language.
A distinction is generally made between translating, where the source and target are written, and interpreting, where the source and target are spoken.
In some situations, the interpretation is given while the source speaker is speaking, as quickly as the interpreter can reformulate the message in the target language (simultaneous interpreting); in other situations, the interpretation is given after the source speech (or a segment of it) has finished (consecutive interpreting).
A trained and officially accredited interpreter will endeavor to interpret not only elements of meaning, but also the intention and feelings of the original speaker. In fact, the end result is an intermediate stage of communication which aims to allow listeners of the target language to experience the message in a way that is as close as possible to the experience of those who understand the original.
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