Transcription and Translation Services: A Basic Overview

Transcription and Translation Services: A Basic Overview
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


You may be wondering, is there is a relationship between transcription and translation. The answer is yes.

Before we get into the similarities between these two business activities, let’s look at their definitions.

Transcription vs. Translation

Transcription is the act of producing a written copy of what has been spoken.

On the other hand, translation is the transformation of written copy from one language to another. Let’s look at an example to help you differentiate transcription and translation.

Let’s say you have an audio recording of your art lecture in Spanish.

If you want the recording in written form for your Spanish-speaking colleague to read, you’ll need transcription services

On the other hand, if you need this art lecture as a written record for your friend who loves art but only speaks English, you’ll need translation services

A transcriptionist will listen to the audio file and type out its contents verbatim or in the same language as the speaker.

On the other hand, a translation services provider will take the Spanish-transcribed document and translate it into English.

What’s the Relationship Between Transcription and Translation?

Both transcription and translation are done to help convey information to the target audience in an easy-to-understand manner. 

For example, audio transcripts are beneficial for people with a hearing impairment.

Transcription makes it easier to follow what is being said in the audio, even when the audio may not be very clear. Translation also helps non-native speakers to understand the information.

For example, the use of subtitles in videos helps non-native speakers to interpret a foreign language. 

Moreover, translating a transcribed document into different languages makes it easier for businesses to reach global audiences. 

For both transcription and translation, you need to hire a professional to ensure the quality and accuracy of your content. 

Many people think that being native speakers of a given language makes them fit to transcribe or translate content.

However, while you may succeed at transcribing part of the document, coming up with quality and accurate transcription will frustrate you. 

Professional transcriptionists have the skills to deal with the different challenges of transcribing content, such as mishears and slang.

Moreover, they have experience transcribing various subject matters such as medical, legal, and education.

These professionals are experts at making sense of terminologies in such subjects that might be difficult for non-professionals.

Translation also requires a professional, as it’s not simply about changing words from one language to another.

For example, if you need official documents such as contracts translated, you will need to hire a professional who provides business translation services.

The professional will provide accurate translation in the context of the source document. 

Professional translators also use the best words that convey the original message conveyed.

Translating content on your own can cause the message of the source media to be distorted in your translation.

Transcription is different from translation. However, both activities aim at providing accurate information quickly.

Today, you can use various software programs to transcribe or translate your files.

However, even with the advancement of technology, there is no better person to do the job than a trained human transcriptionist and translator.

Read Also: How to tackle Spanish Translation

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.