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What’s the difference between transcription and translation?

We have an audio file which is a recording of an interview between two people in Spanish. We need to have a written record of what was said available for both our Spanish-speaking and English-speaking colleagues to read, so do I need a transcription or a translation please? I’m not too sure what the difference is or how this works?

Great question, this is an area which many people get confused about so it’s my pleasure to be able to answer it.

What you need is both a transcription and a translation; or more accurately, a transcription followed by a translation.

Transcription is the process of listening to the audio file and writing what has been said down verbatim in the same language that the original speakers used. A translation is the process of taking that written text and translating it into another language.

So, in your case, we’d first transcribe what the Spanish speakers said into to a Spanish written document which could be read by your Spanish colleagues. We would then translate that document into English for use by your English-speaking colleagues. In this way both sets of colleagues will be able to read the document in their native languages.

We always use native speakers working into their mother tongue transcribing and translating so that you get the very best quality. This means we’d use a native Spanish speaker when transcribing from Spanish to Spanish and a native English speaker when translating from Spanish to English.

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