Albeit similar, transcription and translation are two separate tasks. As such, each one of them requires different techniques and must be used in distinguished situations. 

Have you ever thought about the differences in these two aspects and how one complements the other? In this text, we listed the most important points in this subject. 

What is transcription

In short words, transcription is the art of putting in written words an audio or video file, as well as speeches and any event that is not documented in writing. Transcriptions are largely used by journalists when covering events or interviewing someone. 

As such, transcriptions often show a person’s mannerism, slang, dialect, and way of talking. Depending on the context, however, a transcription can be written in a more informal or formal manner

As a norm, transcriptions are done in one language. This means that there is no translation involved in this process. Instead, a person transcripts in English a speech or any other event that happens using the same language. 

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What is translation

On the other side, translation is when someone communicates using two (or more) different languages. In short words, it is when a person receives a message in a certain language, understands it, and is able to communicate using a second language. 

Unlike transcriptions, translations can be done through written texts, as well as oral speech or a combination of the two.  

Differences between transcription and translation

Both transcription and translation are aspects of effective communication. Most of the time they even complement each other. For example, someone can translate a transcripted document, or transcript a verbal translation.

Nonetheless, it is important to notice that they differ in a key aspect. While transcription is merely a written record of something that happened, a translation is a sort of creation of the content. 

That is because translating something does not involve only putting equivalent words between languages. More than that, translating is a way to transmit messages to another targeted public. As such, this group of people has its own cultural aspects. This is what makes the work of a translator nuanced. 

As a professional, a linguist needs to understand the specificities of the public they are talking to. That is why many times the translator has to adapt the content translated in order to captivate that targeted audience’s heart. 

Translation and transcription for businesses

From a business point of view, translation and transcripts are extremely important and can bring much profit to a brand. 

Transcriptions can be a valuable way to record important meetings and interviews that happen in your company. As such, it can be revisited from time to time, serving also as a way to track company (and the market) behavior and strategies. 

As for translation, it is a key concept for brands that want to grow and stay in the market. In order to do so, you have to communicate with people. And how do you do that if you do not know their language? That is the job of a translator!

To enter new markets, a company must translate its content. And not only translate – but translate wisely. In this sense, there are important aspects that need to be taken into account when translating content. 


The most important matter to have in mind when translating content is localization. This is the process of making a material not only in a determined language but customized for a specific group. 

In this sense, it is common for professionals to rely on cultural aspects or ways of talking to better the localization of a text. This is the only way to ensure your targeted client is receiving the best content of your brand. 

It is important to notice that this happens even for countries that speak the same language. For instance, content that is designed for Americans will not be written the same as one for the UK. Likewise, content that has Brazil as a target group will not be the same as one written for Portugal. 

Know your marketing

As we mentioned above, language is not the only process involved when we talk about translation. That is why you can not simply translate a text to “English” and expect to successfully impact the public in different regions of the world. 

The competing markets out there make it even more important to know your targeted group. As such, it is important to do your own research in order to understand this group’s habits and how they communicate. Do they use formal or informal language? What kind of media do they consume? You must know that in order to captivate them. 

Understand what type of service you need

Once you decide you need to translate specific content, it is time to understand what type of service you need. Nowadays, there are a myriad of translation services in the market, such as legal document translation, financial, medical, and literary, among others. That is why it is important to understand your product and what kind of translation you need in order to begin to actually translate your content.

Transcription and translation are both tools that can generate great profit for a company. For it to happen, however, it is important to understand these two concepts. As transcriptions are records done in writing of meetings, audios, or videos, they can be used as a way to collect data on the brand’s decisions and track record. Translations, on the other side, can help a company to conquer new marketings. 

In both cases, translations and transcriptions must be done in a certain manner in order for the business to collect its gains. It is important to think about your targeted audience and how to localize your content specially to them in order to succeed in this. 

Bureau Works is a translation service that goes beyond being only a translation. As a truly global digital content partner, we count on a multicultural team that is ready to meet all the requirements your brand needs to successfully enter a new market. 

Published On: January 5th, 2022 / Categories: Business Translation, Translators /

Rodrigo Demetrio

January 5, 2022

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