Transcription vs. Translation: Main Differences in Focus

Transcripts and translations have become known, popular, and very useful. A significant part of this is the great importance of making the content accessible to disabled and hard of hearing people and making it easier for them to understand it, which has also helped integrate these people into business roles in companies while promoting equality.

Translation has also been used in companies to promote a better understanding of information. Here, a piece of information is translated into another language that most people can understand better. The truth is that most people confuse translation and transcription.

This article will help you know translation and transcription better by pointing out their main differences.


One key difference that will help you differentiate transcription from translation is the languages used. In transcription, more than one language. After listening to an audio, one can transcribe it into more than one language.

For example, during an event where one talks in English, the caption can be in English, Spanish, Japanese, or even French. The instructions will determine the caption language. Unlike transcription, translation deals with only two languages.

These are the source language and the target language. It also involves a straightforward process. This is translating one language from its source language to its target language.

Source Material

In transcription, the source material may be in the form of sign language or speech. It might even be a piece of information written in a different writing system. The source does not have to be verbal. The source material is looked at and transcribed to the desired language. Unlike in transcription, where source material can be in various forms, the source material needs to be in written form.

In cases where the client has a video or audio as the source material, the file has to be transcribed first before it is translated, and for this purpose, it is recommended to use the services of a transcription company which make it faster and easier.


In transcription, one needs to have different skills from another individual who deals with translating. Here one needs to be an active listener. This ensures that they can focus and hear everything a speaker says. Typing skills are also required. This way, they will be able to type quickly and accurately as a speaker speaks.

Another critical skill is computing skills to ensure that they can understand computer functions and use them to perform functions such as editing.

Unlike in transcription, an essential skill is creative writing in translation. This ensures that one can read, understand and interpret a language from one language to another. Creative writing will also ensure that only the accurate and intended message is delivered.


In transcription, the transcriptionist only cares about transcribing information. It is not necessary to include emotions and expressions. This can be seen in virtual classroom tools such as Zoom. For example, expressions will not be included in the caption during a Zoom meeting. This might be because even though one cannot hear what a speaker is saying, they can easily see their facial expressions.

The good thing is that virtual classroom tools work together with any transcription company to ensure that all individuals get the most out of an event. Unlike in transcription, in translation, emotions and expressions are essential.

Translation involves taking everything and interpreting it into a different language. This means that in the translated document, all feelings and expressions must be included as in the source document.


In transcription, one only needs to know the language they are transcribing very well. This is because the transcription results will still be in the same language. For example, if you transcribe English audios, you need to be good at English since you will only deal with this language.

Unlike in transcription, you need to master two languages in translation, the source language, and the targeted language. This is because you must be able to read and understand the document in the source language and then translate it into another different language. In translation, you must be very proficient in the target language.


Even though transcription and translation have a lot of similarities, this does not make them equal or the same. They also have differences that make them both unique. This is why it is essential to learn their differences. This article has provided you with critical differences you need to know.

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