What’s the Difference between Translation and Transcription?

This is a guest post written by Danilo from Espresso Translations, a translation agency specialising in translation and transcription services. It was founded by two translators working in tandem and has grown to become a leading language services provider.

One question we’re often asked is whether translation and transcription are the same thing. Sure, they both sound similar, but it’s safe to say they’re actually quite different. Both services have amazing benefits and can help your business, but it’s important to know how they differ and which is the right approach for you.

What is translation?

When you arrange for something to be translated, you’re asking for it be converted from one language into another. To do this, you’ll need a translator who can speak both languages and can accurately convert the words and convey their meaning.

Translations can be of written pieces, such as emails, reports or contracts, or they can also be completed on audio files. You can also have your translation work carried out “live” such as during a telephone conversation, which is known as interpretation. This is an incredibly useful service and one that can benefit you in a variety of ways.

What is transcription?

Transcription is when you take an audio file and you convert everything that has been said into a written file. This needs to be verbatim, which means as it is said and by whom. It also needs to be in the original language in which it was spoken, even if the intention is for it to be in another language eventually.

Performing a transcription service might sound straightforward, but this isn’t always the case. It’s vital that the person transcribing what is said can speak the language fluently, as this will ensure it is written down properly and makes grammatical sense. Also, they’ll need to ensure they type everything accurately and are true to what was said.

Which one do I need?

When deciding whether you need translation or transcription services, you first need to figure out what you actually want to do with your source file. That said, there are going to be times when you need both, which means you’ll need to think about which order to plan them in. If you’re unsure of what you need, you can always contact a professional translation and transcription freelancer or agency to help you.

It usually makes sense to order a transcription, which will convert the audio file into text, and then to follow this up with a translation into the language or languages you need. To ensure your project can be finished more quickly and to a high standard, it is advisable to find a freelancer or agency that can take care of both aspects for you rather than splitting your project between two different people or companies.

If you’d like to write a guest post for My Words for a Change, please read this page and get in touch. You can gain an idea of the topics explored on this blog by looking at the categories page.

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