Many people confuse these two very different professions. Even though the essence of the process each professional applies is basically the same, its forms are very different.
Simply put, a translator translates written communication, whereas an interpreter transposes oral communication into another language, live.
Let’s say you are watching a foreign movie with a friend and your friend does not grasp the foreign language, which you know well. If you catch yourself relaying verbally to your friend the dialogues in the movie, you are not translating, you are interpreting.
However, if your boss asks you to give him in writing the content of the letter he has received from a foreign contact, you will have to translate the letter to fulfill the request.
For more information on language professions in Canada, please visit the Canadian Translators Terminologists and Interpreters Council.