Translators: Mere Transcoders or Writers?

Translators: Mere Transcoders or Writers?
Julie Parker

Julie Parker


Difference Between Translators and Writers

In the transcription industry, there is a question mark hovering over the job role of translators, because people working in this sector are often called transcoders and writers. So, which title is it? Well, the communicative act requires the individual to use their translation skills to turn existing messages into straightforward pieces of information. Let's further analyze the role of a translator and writer to answer the question - "Are translators mere transcoders, or communicators/writers?"

Differences Between Translators and Writers

Translators deal with written text, which is exactly what writers do. Despite this, the mode of expression is different. A good translator must maintain skills that enable them to express themselves in a target language. An ability to understand the source language is crucial, as well as the text's cultural origin. Writers can simply use reference materials and online research to develop a fluid, concise piece of text, whereas the translator must blend communication with writing.

Let's take a look at some skills that translators and writers should possess:

  • Translator skills - Research, reading comprehension, and composition make for high-quality translation.
  •  Writer skills - The role of writing centers around the use of proper grammar, syntax, punctuation and, spelling.

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Translation is Writing

Writing is essentially the same as translation according to Belloc, because the translator's target text will often be compared to the source text. However, just because someone is able to write a piece of text does not make them a writer. A writer will develop unique ideas and material, whereas a translator will make use of existing material to create an easy-to-read piece that is free of flaws, and understandable to people who speak the particular language.

Rather than a translator being described as a producer of texts, it's important to remember that poorly communicative texts can be composed by anyone. For a writer to be deemed a professional they must maintain certain levels of experience, and the same applies to translators, whose label as a writer would depend on his/her knowledge in that specific field. Whether the piece is technical or literary, translators are essentially communicators with basic writing competence.

Read Also: Transcription Guidelines for Abbreviations

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Julie Parker

Julie Parker

Julie Parker is the Transcription Supervisor for GMR Transcription Services, Inc, a leading U.S. transcription company based in Orange County, California. Julie has a true passion for effective verbal and written communication. She applies her passion to providing the excellent customer service and accuracy upon which GMR Transcription's clients depend. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, watching movies, and hosting dinner parties with friends.