Distinguishing Transcription & Translation in Language

Transcription vs Translation in Language

Even though transcription and translation have similar-sounding names, they are distinct activities with different purposes. Both processes are language-related but serve different functions. Transcription involves converting something into written form, while translation is the expression of content in another language. The main difference between the two is that transcription involves a single language, whereas translation requires two or more languages. Transcription entails transforming information from one version to another within the same language, while translation involves converting content from one language to another. Let’s delve into both activities more comprehensively and highlight the differences between transcription and translation.

What is Transcription?

Transcription refers to the process of converting something into written form. The action of transcription is known as transcribing, and the person performing the task is called a transcriptionist. Transcription has various applications, such as when documentation provided by one party needs to be adjusted to suit another party.

In research, transcription is an essential step before data analysis. Researchers use different data collection methods like surveys, interviews, and observations. Although surveys provide written responses, interviews typically yield recorded data. Consequently, it is crucial for researchers to transcribe the data before starting their analysis. In this context, the researcher converts the recorded data into a written version, which is referred to as transcription in research.

What is Translation?

Translation involves expressing content in another language. Unlike transcription, which only requires one language, translation necessitates more than one language. Translation can occur between various languages, such as English to French, French to German, and Chinese to English. A person who translates is known as a translator. Translation takes place in various contexts, including diplomatic visits, international conferences, media, and foreign agencies.

However, translation can be more challenging and complex than transcription, as the translator must be aware of colloquial expressions and the speaker’s moods to provide accurate translations. This requirement applies to both spoken and written translations.

Key Takeaways

  • Transcription involves converting something into written form within the same language, while translation requires expressing content in another language.
  • Transcription centers on a single language, whereas translation necessitates two or more languages.
  • Translation can be more challenging than transcription, as it requires the translator to be aware of colloquial expressions and the speaker’s moods for accurate translations.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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