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Difference Between Translation and Transcription


When one hears the two words “translation” and “transcription”, they may point out that they hold similar meanings, having similar prefix “trans”, but so do “antibiotic” and “antidepressant” but everyone knows they are not the same.

The case of translation and transcription is also similar. They mean very different things in the world of languages. The dictionary defines translation as expressing or converting words or text into another language.

On the other hand, transcription is defined as putting speech or data into printed form. If you are still confused about the two, we are here to clear the air. Here are the main differences between translation and transcription.

A look at Transcription:

Let us look at transcription first. It can be defined as the conversion of something into a written form and is one of the key processes prior to data analysis in research. When recording of audio/video medium is required in written form, transcription comes into play.

In the case of a scenario where documentation or the account provided by a party is not comprehensible to the other and a medium is needed for understanding and later reference—transcription comes to the rescue.

A look at Translation:

Translation is the conversion of some medium from one language to another. Unlike transcription that involves only one language, the case is different for translation where more than one languages are involved. For example, translation can occur from French to English, English to Arabic or Chinese to Spanish, etc.

However, unlike transcription, translation can be a bit tricky and complex since the translators has to be aware of the colloquial expressions and moods of the speaker in order to be accurate in translation.

Translation and Transcription: How are they different?

Even though they both hold a place in the world of languages, there are significant differences between translation and transcription based on their definitions and the number of languages involved.

Another very significant difference is the skill of the transcriptionist who needs to have ample knowledge of his native language, whereas a translator needs to have the knowledge of all languages involved in the process of that particular translation.

Also Check: Difference Between Translator and Interpreter

Words vs. Meanings:

The difference between translation and transcription comes down to two words—words versus meanings. So if a person has an audio recording that needs to be converted into written text, it is transcription.

If he needs the meaning of words in one language converted into another language while keeping the meaning intact, it is translation. Despite these differences between translation and transcription, it is important to know that they both are essential parts of a translation agency’s business and are likewise required for lowering the linguistic barriers set by geographical boundaries in the world.

Without the either of the two, cross-border and cross-cultural ties would just be not possible.

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