At the beginning of this month, I translated one article introduce study abroad. In this passage, Seminar and Workshop repeated many times, without so much hesitation, I cited “研讨会” as the suitable translation. But during the review stage, I wondered these 2 words with the similar Chinese meaning, but what’s the intrinsic difference between them. In which situation, should I use Seminar and when should I used Workshop. Actually I have no idea. In order to figure out the difference, I looked up these 2 words in the Oxford Dictionary.

The detail explanation from Oxford Dictionary as below:


1. a class at a university or college when a small group of students and a teacher discuss or study a particular topic; Ex: A course of study for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in a college or university, conducted in the manner of a seminar

2. a meeting for discussion or training:
Ex: The World Trade Organization and China Service Trade “Seminar” will be held in Shanghai on April 19th.


1. a room or building in which things are made or repaired using tools or machinery

The workshop has shut down and the workers are unemployed.

2. a period of discussion and practical work on a particular subject, in which a group of people share their knowledge and experience
Ex: She is studying in a theatre workshop.

Per my understanding, Both of seminar and workshop is a form of group discussion, seminar should be more official than workshop. Further searching useful information from internet, after combined detail explanation from abroad students and my comprehensive understanding, the main difference described as below:

1. Generally Workshop will provide a simulation scene as the main content of the class. Students could practice and discuss by group, Presentation is not always the necessity of such class. But for Seminar, teacher would choose a topic as the presentation opening. Student asked questions and teacher gave the answers.

2. Workshop, sometimes could mean a seminar, with the typical lecturer and audience. In addition, there will be planned exercises and activities that the audience could do during the workshop to get them more involved. In common usage, Seminar is very similar to lectures, that there is one lecturer providing information and the audience is more passive. They just listen.

3. Workshop stressed a kind of information exchanged and communicated by less participants between the educational seminars or series of meetings. Seminar stressed college or graduate students under the guidance of professor, engaged in the research or further study of their report or discovery. Professor would discuss with them in group to answer all confronted problems.

4. Workshop is more formal than Seminar and the involving content with higher level and deeper extent. The former would be more professional and academic while the latter is optional and casual.

From above points, I learned difference between Semina and Workshop. It makes me clear to choose such 2 words in proper situation.