Transcription – What Is It and How Does It Relate to Translation?

Customers who have noticed that transcription is another service provided by Language Insight as well as translation have been asking the question: what is transcription and how does it relate to translation?


In a nutshell, transcription creates text from other sources, such as video or sound recordings. A transcriber will listen carefully to the recordings, which are usually on an MP3 file, and then type it out into a document.

A transcription can be an interview, a meeting, a court case, market research surveys or even a book. Sometimes the transcriber must note down every single sound and murmur. Or, they are asked to clean up the recording and produce a well-written, easy to read document.

Machine Transcription

Just as there is Google translate, there is also machine software to transcribe texts. Like Google Translate, it is useful for the odd piece of recording that you might be keeping for personal use. However, it isn’t efficient enough to produce a professional written text. The machine often can’t cope with background noise, heavily accented voices or overlapping speech.

Why you Should Use a Professional Transcriber

A professional transcriber has the experience to pick up the right words, even on a poor-quality recording. They can recognise accents, cope with technical jargon, block out interruptions and separate voices that are talking over each other. It’s vital to use a transcription service for documents that will be used professionally, especially if they need to be translated.

How Transcription relates to Translation

If you have a sound recording that needs translating, then it should be transcribed beforehand. This is to make sure the wording is clear and that the text makes sense. The translator can then understand the text perfectly and produce a professionally written translation.

Language Insight

Language Insight offers a transcription service together with audio translation. If you would like to more about this service get in touch by email, or give us a call. Language Insight is a UK based translation agency supplying translation, transcription, desktop publishing and interpretation services.