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Transcription is one thing and translation is another, but many people often confuse them. Both are very useful for any type of online content, especially for companies and digital businesses. In this article you will discover everything you need to know about this topic.

The differences between a translation and a transcription

In this article we will answer any doubt you may have, but what is clear is that translations and transcriptions are not the same and are both quite different.

Now, it is a definitive fact that both translations and transcriptions are nowadays necessary to internationalize your content.

What really is a translation?

This is the one-million-dollar question. A translation is a process in which a text, whether written or recorded in audio, is converted into a language other than the original. This means that a text, originally in English, is translated once it is taken to another language.

How does that happen? Well, when a translator or interpreter encodes a text in an original language, he/she can translate it into another language that he/she is fluent in. Here it is important that you know that, although language is a set of codes and signs, translating is something that goes much further than that.

So, when we take a text in one language and convert it into another, we are doing a translation. But it is not as simple as it sounds, because the translation needs many things for it to be of quality.

Firstly, the translator must really master both languages, both the source and destination texts.

Here are some key aspects of translation:

Literal translation:

This involves translating the text word for word from the source language to the target language. However, this method often fails to preserve the original meaning because it doesn’t take into account the context, idioms or grammatical differences between the two languages.

Semantic translation:

This focuses on translating the meaning and intent of the original text, rather than the exact words. It requires a deep understanding of both languages and often involves rephrasing sentences to make them sound natural in the target language.

Cultural adaptation:

This involves adapting the text to make it culturally appropriate for the target audience. This may involve changing references, idioms and even humour to fit the cultural context of the target language.

Professional translation:

This is usually done by human translators who are experts in the source and target languages and the subject matter of the text. They use their skills and experience to produce high quality translations.

Machine translation:

This involves using artificial intelligence to translate text. While it can be faster and cheaper than human translation, it may not always accurately capture the nuances and cultural context of the original text.

What is actually a transcript

Now let’s see what a transcript is. A transcription is the verbatim textual drafting of a text that is originally in audio format.

Let’s put it another way: to transcribe is to transform audio into words. Later we will tell give you a few examples of what is meant here. What we can tell you now is that if you take an episode of a podcast and turn it into an article, this is considered a transcript.

As in the case of translations, transcripts require a series of details that only a professional can cover.

Why do people confuse translation and transcription?

Well, the main reason people can confuse a translation with a transcription is because they really have several things in common.

Both translation and transcription have this in common:

  • They modify the original texts
  • They help a text reach different audiences
  • They need to be carried out by professionals for them to be of quality

And that’s just to name the most relevant similarities because there can be many others.

Examples of translations

For you to understand the importance of translations for your web content, we would like to tell you about a few examples. Next, you will see that translations are much more intricate than many people would believe:

Translation of written text

This is the most common translation, that of a written text, in one language, translated into another one. These translations are very common in web page content, although there also other examples such as the following ones:

  • Translation of legal documents
  • Translation of instruction manuals
  • Translation of product labels

Audiovisual translation for dubbing

This type of translation is one of the most frequent nowadays for internet content. Many of the videos we see on social networks are translated and dubbed. At one time this was done mostly for movies and TV series. Today, many YouTube videos are dubbed.

Audiovisual translations for dubbing are one of the most complex types of translations, because in addition to an adequate translation, voice-over skills are also required for a perfect execution. If you would like to know a little more about this type of translations, we invite you to read this article:

Audiovisual translation for dubbing

Examples of transcripts

It is good to know that transcripts can also be as varied as translations. However, as we said before, translations tend to be more complex because they involve more skills and abilities that are necessary to achieve the expected results.

Here are some examples of transcripts:

Audio transcription

Much of the content that exists in audio format ends up being transcribed so that it can reach more people. It often happens, for example, that radio programs, podcasts and the like are transcribed and turned into articles.

There are also transcriptions of material that is not published in audio format but exists that way and is then transcribed. This happens, for example, with voice memos or other types of recordings that are made in this way with the original intention for them to be transcribed.

Video transcription

An example of video transcription can be subtitling work. When subtitles are added to a video in the same language as the original audio, this is considered a transcription, which is not the same as a translation.

It is important to remember that transcription is a process where audio is converted to text. However, it should also be noted that the transcripts are verbatim. This means that there is no need for translation or interpretation.

Phonetic transcription

This focuses on the phonetic and phonological properties of spoken language. Phonetic transcription systems therefore provide rules for mapping individual sounds or phones to written symbols. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a commonly used system for phonetic transcription.

Phonetic transcriptions with

Orthographic transcriptionThis consists of rules for mapping spoken words to written forms as prescribed by the orthography of a given language. It has a morphological and a lexical component in addition to the phonetic component.

Role in linguistics: Transcription is an essential part of the methodologies of phonetics, conversation analysis, dialectology and sociolinguistics. It also plays an important role in several subfields of speech technology.

Transcriber: A transcriber is a person who makes transcriptions. They convert human speech into written, typed or printed form.
It’s important to note that transcription in linguistics is not to be confused with translation, which is the rendering of the meaning of text from a source language into a target language , or with transliteration, which is the rendering of the spelling of text from one script into another.

Plus, in this article you can read more about how important the transcription is for business.

Interested in translating or transcribing your web content?
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