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Here's an article that explains the differences.
AppleScript and Automator: What's the Difference?
"For many Mac users, AppleScript and Automator are terms that bring about a sense of confusion. This is unfortunate, considering that both technologies are generally targeted at typical users (non-programmers, in other words) and designed to make life easier through automation.
Much of the confusion centers on the similarities between these two applications:
Both automate time-consuming or repetitive tasks.
Both interact with Mac applications.
Both are targeted toward everyday Mac users.
But AppleScript and Automator are actually quite different. This article will attempt to clear up some of the confusion surrounding these technologies."