T&I: An Introduction

Whenever someone has asked me what I study these last four years, once I tell them it is Translation and Interpretation, there are only three answers they can come up with:

A)     “So, how many languages do you know?”

B)      “That seems pretty easy.”

C)      “I’ve never heard of that before.”

The lack of knowledge from the greater part of the population (at least, in my country) has taught me that not only is my major unique, but there are certain misconceptions surrounding it. I hope that this blog not only serves to point out those misconceptions, but to provide relevant information, a couple of jokes here and there, educate others, and connect the T&I community.

So, to begin, here are the 10 misconceptions of translators/interpreters:

  1. Translators and Interpreters know many languages.

Yes, it may be possible, but this isn’t always the case.

2. They are walking dictionaries.

No need for explanation here.

3. It’s exactly how Nicole Kidman portrays it in The Interpreter.

It’s not even close.

4. An interpreter = translator.

Not all interpreters are translators, or vice versa.

5. Interpreters and translators charge too much for a job anyone/anything can do.

Google translator and a real live human translator should not be put in the same category.

6. You can interpret/ translate after living a year abroad.

A year abroad can help, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can work in a professional setting.

7. You can get a translation done in a couple of hours.

The time it takes to do a translation depends on the # of words and level of difficulty.

8. It’s fairly easy. There’s no mental effort like in math, physics, etc.

There is no need to underestimate any major or career. Each is challenging in its own way.

9. It’s kind of easy.

It’s not.

10. It’s a bit easy.

Really, it’s not.


  1. Hahaha! They are walking dictionaries is my favorite!
    Typical conversation:
    X: So how do you say (enter super hard word you’ve never heard before here) in English/Spanish? T&I: I don’t know. X: Aren’t you supposed to be a translator?

  2. About translation after living abroad…. My sister who went to USA for 6 months speaks really good English and she can translate this document.

    People here really don’t understand that they are paying for a service and a professional job. However, they don’t think twice when they have to go to the dentist.

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