Translate vs. Transcribe: What’s the Difference?

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To effectively convey and utilize information, Translation and Transcription are considered the two top methods. These two methods can be applied concurrently to complement each other or applied separately. Join Thao & Co. in exploring the differences between Translate vs Transcribe in the article below.

5 Differences between Translate vs Transcribe

Translate and Transcribe are known as the two most common terms in processing languages. These two activities can be conducted concurrently or separately depending on the purpose of usage. However, there are a few differences to notice between translating and transcribing as follows:


The first difference between Translating and Transcribing is their definitions.

Transcribing is the activity of recording information provided in the form of speech into texts. The information needed to be transcribed can be audio, video files, or even live conversations.

Translating is the process of converting the language of a specific content into one or multiple other languages. When translating, the translator needs to fully and accurately convey the information provided in the source text.


Depending on the purpose of using information, you may choose between these two methods.

To effectively filter and archive information, transcription is usually employed to record information presented in audio or video files. Moreover, in live communication, transcribing in real time helps to avoid overlooking important information.

The main purpose of translation is to convey information most effectively. This activity helps all relevant parties understand the same provided content despite not speaking the same language. 

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Required skills

To deliver high-quality translation and transcription, translators and transcribers need certain skills.

For transcribing, the transcriber needs to possess the following skills:

  1. Language skill: When transcribing, the transcriber is required to accurately understand the provided information in the source language, record in the language requested, and avoid overlooking information or misleading the audience from the original content.
  2. Technical knowledge: Regarding content with a large amount of industry knowledge, the transcriber needs to ensure an accurate understanding and recording of technical terms.
  3. Local dialect: This is considered one of the top challenges in transcribing. For that, experience with various dialects and cultures plays an important role in producing a successful transcription.
  4. Expressing emotional features: In oral communication, the speaker can easily express their emotions through facial expressions or intonation. However, with written language, the choice of language and how it is presented should be appropriate to fully convey the expressions of the individuals.

To ensure high-quality translations for the clients, the translator needs to equip themselves with the following skills:

  1. Knowledge of languages: Information in the translation must be presented accurately and without ommission. In doing so, the translator needs to have a deep understanding of both the source and target languages.
  2. Industry knowledge: Translators need to possess extensive knowledge in the field that is requiring translation to understand and to ensure an accurate conveyance of words and technical terms. 
  3. Have insights into different cultures: Culture and language are two parallel factors that influence each other. For that matter, cultural knowledge is indispensable for an effective translation.
  4. Creative mindset: In certain circumstances, the translator needs to be creative in word choice and sentence restructuring to produce a captivating translation work. An example is when translating slogans or poems, which often fails to achieve the intended effect if only translated word-by-word.

The process

What is Transcription? - Thao & Co.

Regarding transcription, before conducting, the transcriber needs to specify the factors affecting the communication process such as content or participants. Besides, audio files need to be processed such as filtering background noises to create the best listening experience.

After the transcription process has been completed, all content will be proofread to ensure the accuracy of the information. Additional editing will also be done if requested.

To ensure the translation contains accurate information, before translating, the translation team shall need to invest much time in researching the content requiring translation and related industries.

Moreover, key terms requiring extra attention shall also be noted for all translators. After completing the translation process, the next step involves proofreading to check and edit the remaining errors, along with conducting additional requests from clients.

Service rate

The transcription service rate will be determined based on the length of the audio/video file or the participation time at live transcription events. Additionally, the form of transcription, the project complexity, the language pairs as well as additional requests from the clients can influence the final cost.

For translation, the length of the material requiring translation shall be the top factor determining the cost of translation service. Source and target language pair as well as the related industry also affect your final cost.

Translate vs Transcribe: Are they used together?

Depending on your purpose, the Translating and Transcribing services can be employed concurrently or separately. If the content is already in the target language, only transcription service is required.

In cases where there is a language barrier, after the transcription is completed, the content shall be translated or you may request the translation agency to transcribe the original audio directly into the target language.

The purpose of this work is to convey information in text format to individuals not speaking the same language. This will make accessing and filtering information a much easier and more effective task.

Translate vs Transcribe: The services for different languages

To receive high-quality transcriptions, it is necessary to choose and collaborate with credible service providers in the market. Factors such as the workflow as well as the transcription and translation team shall directly impact the final result of the project.

Consulting the opinion of experienced individuals or reading reviews from past clients shall help you evaluate the quality and the working process of translation agencies.

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High-quality translation by native translators

At Thao & Co. translation agency, translation service will be conducted by native translators with extensive experience, ensuring the materials are properly, and accurately translated without omission. We provide translation and proofreading services for diverse fields such as healthcare, marketing, legal, technology, etc.

You may request translation services for different languages such as:

  1. ● English translation
  2. Chinese translation
  3. Russian translation
  4. Korean translation
  5. Vietnamese translation
  6. Japanese translation
  7. ● And over 50+ other languages

Diverse professional transcription services

For transcription services, we provide for our clients a wide range of services, depending on their specifications and objectives:

  1. Verbatim transcription: For this service, all information in the audio file will be transcribed, including the filler words or word repetition by the speakers.
  2. ● Non-verbatim Transcription: To simplify the text for the reader, all transcriptions will be edited appropriately and accurately, with their content integrity preserved.
  3. ● Time Stamping Transcriptions: When transcribing, our experts will note down the timestamps for convenient and easy observation of the content, especially for court trials, industry conferences or when you require subtitles for the video.

Proofreading will be thoroughly conducted to ensure high-quality translation and transcription. Furthermore, confidentiality will also be prioritized with strict privacy and information security policies from Thao & Co.

To find out more about the Translation and Transcription services at Thao & Co., please check out or receive prompt consultation via our Get a quote page.

Source: Thao & Company
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