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Transcription – what is it and what’s it got to do with translation?

Transcription is one of those vital linguistic services which, unfortunately, doesn’t really seem to get the recognition it deserves. If you’re used to dealing with subtitling and other linguistic projects, chances are that you’ve used transcription services before, possibly without even noticing. So, this week we’re going to shed a light on everything transcription related and how it fits into the translation/localization sphere.

What is transcription?

To put it simply, transcription is taking the spoken word and converting it into written text. There are many different uses where this could come in handy and help the linguistic project you’re working on, so let’s move onto that next!

Where can transcription be used?

If you’re dealing with a source file that’s spoken as opposed to written — such as an audio interview for which you’re intending to create subtitles — you’ll need to get the spoken language transcribed before it’s translated. It’s not only a lot quicker to work this way, it’s a lot easier for the translator, too. If for any reason you don’t need the file translated and just need it left in the source language (e.g., a telephone call in Spanish), that’s also something we can help you with.

Sometimes, you might need an audio file back. And, that’s where we can help by getting one of our voiceover artists to record the translation so you get an audio file back rather than a written document translation.

Transcription & subtitling

It’s no surprise that transcription is a major part of the subtitling process. Before you start your subtitling project, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the written text, and that’s where transcription comes in. Plus, if you have speakers who speak a different language (e.g., you’re subtitling an Arabic speaker so that the English-speaking audience can understand what they’re saying), what’s being said will get transcribed and then translated so it can be subtitled.

When is transcription necessary?

There are a number of important uses for transcription services. The government and law enforcement agents use these kinds of services a lot to document trials and court cases.Then, you’ve got the likes of market research companies who need to document responses from non-English speakers. You’ve even got TV and media who use subtitling to make their shows more accessible, business meetings, and even medical transcripts, too.

So, as you can see, there’s a big need for transcription services. And, it’s something we’re more than happy to help you out with here at PGLS. If you’d like some advice, please feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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