Transcription and Translation
MEANINGS AND USAGE
Transcription and translation in the language and communications industry, without a doubt, need a bit of clarification. These are, in one respect, two different services, and on the other hand, understandably interchangeable terms.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Transcription is the process of converting speech (either live or recorded) into a written or electronic text document. According to Wikipedia, “transcription services are often provided for business, legal, or medical purposes. The most common type of transcription is from a spoken-language source into text such as a computer file suitable for printing as a document such as a report. Common examples are the proceedings of a court hearing such as a criminal trial (legal transcription by a court reporter) or a physician’s recorded voice notes (medical transcription)”.
Generally speaking, translation refers to words (whether in audio or text format) that are changed from one language into another, so from Arabic into Lebanese, or Russian into Spanish for example.
TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSLATION DEFINITIONS
The first two definitions below, from the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, convey this process of change from language to language.
A simple definition of translation?
- words that have been changed from one language into a different language: words that have been translated
- the act or process of translating something into a different language
- the act or process of changing something from one form to another
It’s the third definition from Merriam-Webster that causes a little confusion and accounts for the tangling and confusion of transcription and translation: the act or process of changing something from one form to another.
While transcription occurs in one language only – whether English, Polish or German – it does go through a process of “changing something from one form to another”. As mentioned previously, transcription is the “translation” of live or recorded speech into a text document. So while the language remains the same – English recording into English speech, for example – the form changes (audio into text), or in other words, the form is “translated”.