Understanding the Role of Transcription vs. Translation

By: Verbit Editorial



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Video content is increasingly becoming the most valuable resource for marketing, education, communication, and more. However, in a recent study, 48% of marketers reported that they felt their organization was not using video content to its full potential. Brands today must face an ever-evolving slate of challenges to effectively appeal to modern consumers. As a part of that mission, business leaders and content creators alike must find new, inventive ways to expand their reach. Transcription and translation are two different processes that can enable content creators to grow their audience and strengthen their global impact. 

Online video content is unique in that it offers virtually limitless potential for growth and visibility. Capitalizing on all of the benefits of the medium, however, requires organizations to take steps to ensure their content is well-suited and accessible to diverse audiences. Knowing when to use transcription vs. translation is one way that brands can maximize the value of their video content.  

What is Transcribing? 

Put simply, transcription refers to the process of converting audio to text. It’s possible to complete transcriptions of audio recordings as well as video recordings. You can even transcribe live communications both in person and virtually.  

There are two primary types of transcription: Verbatim and non-verbatim. Verbatim transcripts serve as a word-for-word account of an audio track. Alternatively, non-verbatim transcripts function primarily as a distillation of the main points of a video or live discussion. Non-verbatim transcripts may prove useful in certain business or educational settings because they eliminate extraneous detail making for easier review. However, non-verbatim transcripts are the best option for improving accessibility because they do not provide an equitable representation of the information. Leaving out small contextual details can impact the ability of a person to pick up on nuances from the recording. 

For this reason, verbatim transcripts are the appropriate transcription format for supporting those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Since verbatim transcripts include even seemingly superfluous audio components like cross-talk, sound effects, repeated words, and more, they allow viewers with disabilities to engage fully with video content rather than providing an alternative version of the material.  

hands typing on a laptop

What is Translating? 

Translation refers to the process of converting spoken text from one language into another. For example, you might translate a YouTube video originally recorded in English into one or more additional languages to appeal to larger audiences.  

There are a few different ways to share translations. Some video-sharing platforms can display real-time translations of video content as on-screen captions or subtitles. In other cases, over-dubbing recordings allow viewers to enjoy the original content while hearing the audio in their native language. Real-time translation options are also available for live communications like conference calls, seminars, and more.  

Translating content into multiple languages is one of the best ways to improve your reach. With translations, you can appeal to global and diverse audiences. Also, brands that invest in translations expand their visibility and effectively support international customers and employees. Given the growing popularity of telecommuting, translating communications can help to support multinational workforces and help to ensure effective and equitable communications across all regions and departments.  

remote pointed to a screen

What is the Difference Between Transcribing and Translating? 

When discussing transcribing vs. translating, there are many important distinctions to consider. Transcribing and translating both involve converting information from one format into a slightly different one. Transcription takes audio information and converts it to a written format. Translation takes information in a particular language and converts it to one or more additional languages. 

One significant transcription and translation difference is that transcription deals with audio and video content, while translation converts both audio/video content and written materials. For example, a novel can be translated, but it cannot be transcribed since it was originally created in a readable format. However, an audiobook could be transcribed as written text in its original language or translated into a new one.

How Do Transcription and Translation Work? 

Now that we understand what each of these processes does, let’s take a closer look at how transcription and translation actually work. Those looking to transcribe and/or translate their video content can do so in a few different ways.  

Some companies may task in-house employees with transcribing or translating an existing piece of content. While this process may seem cost-effective on its face, in reality, untrained professionals often fail to deliver sufficiently accurate results. Even seemingly insignificant transcription or translation errors can negatively impact accessibility and fail to offer equitable viewing experiences to all audience members.  

Alternatively, some media-hosting and social sites offer automatic transcription and translation solutions for video content on their platform. These auto-generated transcripts and translations can save time for brands that generate high volumes of video content. However, it’s important to understand that these tools rely on artificial intelligence alone and often fall short of the accuracy rates required to support accessibility standards and guidelines

With this in mind, perhaps the best way to complete the transcription and translation process is to partner with a professional transcription and translation service like Verbit. Verbit offers an all-in-one software platform for solutions like captioning, transcription, translation, and audio description. These tools support both video content and real-time communications. 

Verbit: How it Works 

Verbit’s stand-out process combines the power of artificial intelligence and human professionals to complete transcription and translation projects with quickly and effectively. Even large-scale projects require just a few easy transcription and translation steps:  

  1. Upload content to Verbit’s platform.  
  2. Proprietary AI software initially transcribes or translates. 
  3. Verbit’s human professionals review and edit the content. 
  4. Users download their content in a range of file formats that are compatible with popular media hosting and social media sites.  

Verbit also offers a number of software integrations with popular online communication platforms that provide easily accessible solutions for real-time call transcription, meeting transcription, live translation and more.  

Verbit’s full suite of technology solutions can help to significantly broaden the reach of a brand’s content and communications while providing much-needed accommodations for those with disabilities. Using Verbit’s audio transcription and translation solutions can support the creation of a wide range of video content and can even help brands produce more effective and accessible live events.  

If you’re interested in learning more about how Verbit’s assistive technologies are helping business leaders and content creators around the world appeal to more diverse audiences, reach out today to speak with a member of our team.