Transcription vs Translation: Highlighting The Difference

Transcription and translation are two distinct solutions that benefit organizations globally. They provide many benefits, including content accessibility, SEO boost, and improved communication. So, what is the point of difference between translation and transcription? How are translation and transcription services beneficial to businesses worldwide?

Many people get confused with the functionality of transcription and solution—sometimes even interchange them—although they both require different skills and expertise and have their own challenges and benefits that make one unique. 


In this article, you’ll learn how:

  • Transcription and translation serve distinct purposes; transcription converts speech into written text, while translation conveys meaning from one language to another.
  • Businesses can leverage transcription to improve content accessibility, improve SEO, increase efficiency, repurpose content, meet legal requirements, and refine customer service.
  • The accuracy of transcription and translation is very important, as errors can lead to severe consequences in fields such as healthcare, legal proceedings, and international business dealings.

What is Transcription?

Let’s first discuss the definitions. At its core, transcription means converting recorded speech—audio or video—into a written document. There are multiple ways to transcribe, but most involve listening to a recording and typing outspoken words, non-verbal sounds, and other relevant contexts. 

Transcription services are used for legal proceedings, medical reports, research interviews, creating movie subtitles, and much more. To produce a high-quality transcript, the transcriber must have good listening skills, attention to detail, familiarity with jargon, and understanding of different accents. 

Common Types of Transcription

Here are some of the most common types of transcriptions available, though there are more. 

Type of TranscriptionDescription
Verbatim TranscriptionCaptures every word, sound, and filler, including “um,” “uh,” and pauses, providing an exact record of the audio.
Intelligent Verbatim (AKA Cleaned-up) TranscriptionOmits filler words and irrelevant sounds while maintaining the meaning and context of the speech.
Edited TranscriptionCorrects grammar, removes false starts, and creates a polished, readable text while preserving the speaker’s intended message.
Phonetic TranscriptionFocuses on the pronunciation and sounds of words rather than their spelling, which is often used in linguistics and language studies.

What is Translation?

On the other hand, translation involves converting written or spoken language from one language to another while maintaining its real meaning. Unlike transcription, the core of translation revolves around a thorough understanding of both the source and target language and the finest cultural aspects of each language. 

Translators must convey the actual meaning of the translated messages by having an excellent grasp of grammar, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions in both languages. Localization—not simple translation—ensures that the translated texts look natural and the intended readers can read them without scratching their heads. 

Common Types of Translation

Below are a few examples of the types of translations you might encounter. 

Translation TypeDescription
Literary TranslationTranslating literary works like novels, short stories, and poetry while preserving the original style, tone, and cultural context.
Technical TranslationTranslating technical documents, manuals, and scientific papers requires specialized knowledge and precise terminology.
Legal TranslationTranslating legal documents, contracts, and court proceedings, ensuring accuracy and adherence to legal terminology and conventions.
Medical TranslationTranslating medical reports, clinical trials, and pharmaceutical documents requires medical terminology and practice expertise.
LocalizationAdapting translated content to suit a specific target market or region’s linguistic, cultural, and technical requirements.

Transcribing vs. Translating: The Main Difference

So, what is the difference between transcription and translation? 

As mentioned in the previous sections, transcription converts audio or video into text while sticking to the original language. Its main goal is to create an accurate written file of recorded spoken content. Transcription can be helpful in fields where a precise written version of the recorded speech is required, such as legal, medical, market research, and more. 

On the other hand, translation focuses on conveying the meaning of the source language into a different language. It’s done by analyzing a written text or video content’s context, tone, and purpose and recreating it in the preferred language. 

Translation can be pretty helpful for eliminating language and cultural barriers, and it lets people access information, literature, media forms around the world, and more. 

So, if you look at the two solutions very closely, you’ll see that the main difference between each one is their purpose.

Despite their differences, nothing says businesses and agencies can’t use both services. In fact, translation and transcription can provide extensive benefits, especially when used correctly. 

The Importance of Accurate Transcription and Translation Work

Before we get into the benefits of transcription and translation, businesses must understand that the services hinge on a single factor: accuracy

In the medical field, transcription starts with physician dictations, which may include patient records, doctor’s notes, and medical reports. Accuracy is important for patient safety, but inaccurate transcriptions may lead to unimaginable consequences, such as inappropriate patient treatments or lawsuits.

For legal proceedings, verbatim transcripts of court hearings, depositions, and witness testimonies are also crucial for maintaining the integrity of the whole legal process.

Similarly, accurate translation of legal contracts, patents, and other materials is important for businesses operating in international markets. Errors—no matter how small—can lead to costly misunderstandings, disputes, or even legal consequences.

The bottom line is that accurate transcription and translation are important because they can convey clear communication, build trust, and make better decisions across different industries.

Combined Benefits of Transcription and Translation for Businesses

So, let’s discuss how transcription and translation can boost your business to new heights. 

Improved Accessibility

Transcription makes your content accessible to those with hearing issues, who prefer reading over listening, or those not yet seasoned with your language. It aids reach expansion and helps businesses connect with more customers.

Businesses can also easily establish their brands internationally if they communicate effectively with potential customers. For instance, companies that can offer products, services, and content in a native language will likely be remembered by those who speak the same language and will likely become customers. To support that, 40% of international customers refrain from making purchases in languages other than their own, according to a study.

Better SEO

Search engines can’t index audio content and will likely stay that way for a long while. Transcribing your content is a surefire way to get it indexed by search engines like Google and rank for a keyword. Ranked content means getting more viewers, which could lead to more clients.

Increased Efficiency

Businesses with long meetings or customer support calls can benefit from transcription. They allow employees to quickly locate information within a recording by searching for a specific keyword. Using transcripts can save a lot of time, as the user no longer needs to go through the whole recording just to get the desired details. 

Additionally, outsourcing your translation and transcription requirements to professionals can save manpower, salaries, benefits, equipment, office space, and more. 

Repurposing Content

Transcribing and translating audio recordings opens opportunities to repurpose content or audio files. This is especially beneficial for businesses that create blog posts, articles, or social media posts as part of their expanded marketing strategy. 

Transcription and translations can provide accurate records of conversations, meetings, or transactions, which can be used in industries with strict legal requirements, such as healthcare or finance. These documents can serve as evidence in legal proceedings or assist with regulatory compliance.

Translation, in particular, can help meet local regulatory requirements to avoid legal issues or damage to reputation.

Improved Customer Service

Customer service is the backbone of most businesses, and transcriptions can help analyze customer interactions, spot common issues, and improve the customer support process. For instance, transcribed customer calls can be reviewed for quality assurance or perhaps used as training materials for new customer support team members.

On the translation side, businesses can produce user manuals, product descriptions, and customer support resources in the customer’s native language to improve the customer experience. A business that goes the extra mile in understanding and making customers understand their products and services will go a long way. 

Improved Internal Communication

Translation and transcription can help with effective internal communication for businesses with multi-lingual workforces or international offices

For one, translating company policies, training materials, or any important documents can ensure everyone on the team can access these details in their native language. Transcripts also allow fast access to relevant information, making workflows easier. 

Competitive Differentiation

Investing in translation services can set a business apart from its competitors, who may not have multilingual support. According to a recent study, companies that prioritize translation services have a 150% higher chance of revenue growth than those that do not

Common Challenges For Transcription and Translation Professionals

Every occupation has its fair share of complications, including transcribers and translators

Poor audio and video quality, background noise, multiple speakers, or even strong accents can make life difficult for transcribers. Similarly, translators often struggle with cultural subtleties, idiomatic expressions, and industry terms that require subject matter expertise during document translation.

To make things worse, professionals may feel overwhelmed with tight deadlines, high volumes, and pressure to maintain high-quality output. Staying updated with their fields’ tools, technologies, and techniques is also important for these professionals to remain competitive in their crafts. However, with time and dedication, all these obstacles can be overcome.

Choose Ditto As Your Translation and Transcription Service Partner

Ready to break down language barriers and expand your business’s horizons? Transcription and translation services from Ditto Transcripts can help open new opportunities, improve customer satisfaction, and stay ahead of the competition.

Here at Ditto, we not only convert texts from one language to another; we always ensure your message is conveyed clearly and effectively. Whether you need thoroughly transcribed meeting notes or localized marketing materials, we can help you. Don’t let linguistic challenges hold you back; transcribe and translate with us!

Ditto Transcripts is a Denver, Colorado-based transcription and translation company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable services for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote.

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