Translating and Transcription

08/15/13

A transcription can be defined as a written representation of something. It can also be the act of writing or rewriting that representation. In genetics, it means the transfer of genetic information from one cell to another. In music, it’s the rewriting of a piece for a different instrument than the original composer intended. In translation services, it is often the act of transforming the audio portion of a video or audio recording into readable text.

In a world filled with multi-media experiences, it is often necessary to take spoken words and transcribe them into written text before attempting to translate the words into another language. Corporate offices may need this service to communicate a speech or meeting notes into another language for international offices.

Medical professionals often employ transcription services even within their own language so that they can speak their notes quickly rather than attempting to type or hand-write complicated diagnoses or treatments. These recorded messages eventually need to be transcribed into a format that can be saved, read, understood, and transmitted.

Transcription is not an easy task for a translator. He needs to possess a very high level of fluency in the spoken language in order to understand the dialect and personal nuances of the speaker. He should understand the idioms of the language and the culture of the speaker as well so that he can comprehend the content of the spoken message.

He must also have the same level of fluency in the target language. He will be recreating the message of the speaker into another language so he must be able to understand what is being said, as well as how to say it in the target language. This may require some creative repackaging and editing to make sure the message is both accurate and acceptable to the reader.

Knowledge of the subject matter will also be a great aid to the transcription professional. If he does not understand what the speaker is talking about, it will be very difficult for him to turn the spoken words into an understandable written format.

All the skills of a translator, as well as those of an editor and a proofreader, are used in transcription. Human beings are far less formal when they speak, even when using more formal speech patterns. We are more willing to bend the rules of grammar and syntax in our speech than we are in our writing. The transcription professional may have to take this into account when turning speech into readable text.

It may not be easy to find a transcriptionist with such a wide skill set, but the finished product will be well worth the search.