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Transcription vs Translation: Picking the Right Tool

Optimizing your video content for accessibility is pivotal for success in today's ever-evolving digital landscape. Ever found yourself wondering how to turn spoken words into text or make content in one language understandable in another?

Transcription and translation are two popular methods for subtitling video content and improving accessibility. While both methods involve converting audio into text, they serve different purposes and achieve distinct results.

In this guide, we'll be taking a deep dive into transcription vs translation, exploring the key differences, benefits, and when to choose one over the other. By the end of this guide, you'll be able to seamlessly incorporate these tools into your video strategy and boost accessibility for a wider audience.

What is Transcription?

If you've ever watched a video on YouTube with subtitles, chances are the creator has utilized transcription to create their content.

In its simplest form, transcription is the process of converting audio content into text. Recorded speech, video content, MP3 files, and live speeches are listened to and transformed into written words. This can be done manually or with the help of automated tools and software.

Converting audio content into textual format makes it easier to reference, analyze, and disseminate spoken content. It vastly improves the accessibility of content for users who are deaf or unable to access speakers.

Transcription services are used for a wide range of purposes, from creating text records of interviews to making video content more searchable using subtitles and SEO.

The use cases for transcription are widespread, and with the rapidly growing use of AI, more industries than ever are using transcription to improve their products, services, and video marketing.

Transcription vs Translation - Key Differences:

While transcription and translation are both used to improve the accessibility of spoken and video content using subtitles, there are some key differences between each process. Understanding these differences is pivotal in deciding the right tool for your needs, and can help you create a tailored video strategy that works for your target audience.


●      Converts spoken content into text format

●      Takes into account the exact words and tone used in the original speech or audio recording

●      Can be done manually or with automated tools and software

●      Helps improve accessibility for hearing-impaired users

●      Used for a wide range of purposes, including creating written records, subtitles, and SEO optimization


●      Converts written content from one language to another

●      Takes into account the meaning and context of the original text, rather than just the exact words used

●      Requires expert knowledge in both source and target languages

●      Can be done manually or with automated tools and software

●      Helps improve accessibility for non-native speakers or users who prefer a different language

●      Used for a wide range of purposes, including making content more accessible to global audiences and improving international business strategies

One of the biggest differences between transcription vs translation is the content conversion. In transcription, audio content is converted into written text using the exact language of the original content. No additional context is added, and the goal is to capture interviews, speeches, and podcasts in their original language.

On the other hand, translation involves changing the spoken content into a different language whilst preserving the content's original meaning. The goal is to make the content understandable for speakers of a different language, so additional context and cultural nuances may be added to ensure accuracy.

Both transcription and translation are essential tools in today's globalized world, helping to bridge language barriers and make content more accessible to a wider audience.

Transcription vs Translation - Key Benefits:

By now, we've established the key differences between transcription and translation. Both tools are important for optimizing video content accessibility, but there are benefits to choosing one over the other depending on the scenario.

Benefits of Transcription:

The key benefits of transcription are as follows:

●      Better Accessibility: Providing a textual representation of audio content makes it more accessible for individuals with hearing impairments or those who prefer reading.

●      Boosts SEO: Your video content is a lot more searchable and indexable with subtitles. Transcription enables viewers to find specific information with audio and video files quickly, which improves their experience.

●      Detailed Content Analysis: Transcription makes in-depth content analysis a breeze. Viewers can identify key insights from spoken content easily.

●      Great for Captioning: Essential for creating subtitles in video content, transcribing can be used to add captions to videos quickly.

●      Content Repurposing: Transcribed content is easy to repurpose into articles, blog posts, social media content, and written reports. It's easier to reach a wider audience with transcription, as audiences who prefer text-based formats can readily view your content.

Benefits of Translation:

There are many benefits to using translation, including:

●      Reach a Global Audience: Businesses and content creators can reach a wide, global audience by making content readily accessible for speakers of different languages.

●      Improved Multilingual Collaboration: If you work with clients around the world, translation is an invaluable tool for better communication. It helps to break down language barriers, leading to improved collaboration and understanding.

●      Increased Marketability: By catering to non-native speakers of a particular language, businesses can make their products or services more marketable and appealing to a wider audience.

●      Cultural Relevance: Translation accounts for cultural nuances and contexts, helping you create content that is relevant, understandable, and culturally appropriate.

●      Improved Searchability: Over 50% of searches on Google are made in languages other than English, so by investing in translation, your content is more searchable.

●      Better Engagement: Businesses that invest in translation services are 1.5x more likely to increase international sales revenue. Translation increases user engagement and facilitates the buyer journey for more customers, leading to increased sales.

●      Legal Compliance: Certain countries require all content to be available in the native language. Translation services can assist with compliance, avoiding legal complications.

●      Brand Image: By providing translations, businesses, and organizations show that they are inclusive, welcoming, and respectful of diverse cultures and languages.

When to Choose Transcription Over Translation:

Having access to both tools is best practice for optimizing your spoken and video content. Choose transcription over translation when you want to capture the original language and context of video material.

Transcription is best when a text-based representation of an audio/video file is required, and is a great option for YouTube creators, podcasts, recording interviews, and making audio files accessible to a wider audience.

Another instance where transcription may be preferred over translation is when working with legal documents, contracts, and official records. Transcription is the ideal choice if you want to maintain the integrity of spoken content whilst improving its searchability, accessibility, and indexation.

Select translation over transcription when the goal is to make your content accessible to a broader, global audience by preserving its meaning and context in a variety of languages.

Translation is an essential tool for businesses and content creators looking to expand their reach into international markets, especially if they want to ensure cultural relevance.

Translation is an invaluable tool for connecting with diverse customer bases. It's used for various purposes, such as adding YouTube subtitles, creating engaging marketing materials, and producing captivating video content.

Translation serves as the go-to choice for engaging, communicating, and connecting with speakers of different languages, as well as for content requiring localization.

Transcribing for Subtitling and Accessibility:

Transcription is an essential step in the process of creating subtitles for videos. It involves converting spoken dialogue into written text, which can then be timed and displayed on screen during video playback.

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for accessibility in video content. Utilizing automatic transcription can save you time and help you optimize content for accessibility.

Automatic Transcription - How it Works:

Transcription tools like Subly can be used to automatically convert spoken content into text formats. It works by using powerful AI and machine learning to listen to, capture, and transform your content from audio to text.

Subly's AI has innovative speech recognition and will do all of the heavy lifting for you. Speech recognition allows transcription to be done more efficiently and accurately, which can save you a significant amount of time.

All you need to do is upload your audio or video file and let Subly do the work for you. You can have completely accurate transcriptions of your video content in mere seconds, rather than waiting days for a Transcriber to manually do it for you.

Automatic Translation Services - How it Works:

Subly provides an automatic translation service that allows you to translate your transcribed text into different languages. It works by using intuitive AI to recognize speech and provide a machine translation service. This feature saves both time and money, making it easier to adapt your content to other languages.

To start with, Subly will transcribe your audio file into text. Once the transcription is complete, simply select the language you want to translate it to and let Subly do the rest. This feature not only helps with the localization of content but also makes it more accessible for non-native speakers.

Utilizing Subtitling Tools - Transcription vs Translation:

Subtitling tools allow you to transcribe and translate audio/video content in text formats. Utilizing these tools is essential for improving the accessibility and engagement of multimedia content, especially in today's evolving digital landscape.

When choosing the right subtitling tool, it's important to go with a powerful tool that offers both transcription and translation. This saves you time and allows you to create subtitles for all audiences, rather than just English speakers. Additionally, using a tool like Subly that uses AI to transcribe and translate ensures accuracy and efficiency.

Moreover, subtitling tools offer the exciting opportunity to personalize font size, color, and style for subtitles, creating visually captivating and immersive viewing experiences. This in-depth customization can greatly elevate the overall enjoyment of your content.

Why Choose Subly for Transcription vs Translation?

Subly is one of the best subtitling tools available for transcription vs translation. You can do both in seconds with Subly's powerful AI, and you can enjoy other features like:

●      Easily translate content into over 70 languages, including Hindu, Mandarin, and Arabic.

●      Generate accurate video captions in seconds.

●      Access different transcription formats, including TXT files, SRT and VTT.

●      In-depth online editor so you can edit your subtitles with ease.

●      Create high-quality subtitle overlays that can be exported for use on any video platform.

●      Team collaboration tools so that you can edit your transcriptions and translations with coworkers in real time.

If you need to do transcription or translation, Subly is the perfect choice for saving you time and effort while also ensuring accuracy and quality in your subtitles.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Transcription and Translation:

There are some common mistakes creators make when transcribing and translating audio content. Avoiding these mistakes is key to ensuring the accuracy, clarity, and quality of your transcribed content, and can save you a lot of time.

One frequent error is submitting unclear audio, or video content with heavy background noise. This makes it difficult for the AI to understand your audio clearly and can lead to translation errors. Using quality audio sources is vital for ensuring accurate, clear transcriptions of content.

A mistake commonly made with translating content is overlooking cultural nuances. If you translate content without considering the cultural context, you leave yourself open to misunderstandings and contextually incorrect content.

Understanding local idioms, cultural background and the nuances of the language you are translating into is vital for reducing inaccuracies in your translated content.

Consistent terminology usage, language style, and correct grammar are things to consider in both transcription and translation. If you overlook these, your subtitles are at risk of being inconsistent and can lead to confusion for viewers.

Using Subly's transcription and translation features can help you avoid these common mistakes, as we use advanced AI technology combined with human editors to ensure accuracy and quality in your subtitles.

Say goodbye to tedious manual transcriptions and translations, and hello to efficient, high-quality closed captions for all your video content!

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