Translation vs transcription – the key differences you should know about

Translation and transcription services are essential in all industries around the world.

It is vital that when written text needs to reach an audience that speaks a different language, it is perfectly translated to avoid any misunderstandings and confusion. This also applies to those industries where speech must be transcribed from audio or video clips.

These are both services we offer at DA Languages. But there are some essential differences that we would like to share with you. We want to ensure that you have the correct service for your needs.

Key differences

Although the two services may sound similar, they have many fundamental differences. The two are used in different ways and specific situations.


Translation services are used to convert written text in one language into another. This is more common when a document needs to be converted from one language to another.

  • Deals with written text, as opposed to spoken word
  • Two languages are used to translate from one to another

For example, we can take your document, whether it is a blog or an article, and convert this from German to English (or any language you require!).

With our remote translation services, we can assist with translating your documents wherever you are in the world. With digital delivery, you can easily get your translation at any time. At DA Languages, we provide translations in over 450 languages, and we understand the importance of high-quality translation.


Transcription involves turning spoken words into written form. This can be converting spoken English to written English, which can then be translated into another language. Transcription translation is a separate process requiring an interpreter to interpret the spoken language and transform this into the written form of another. 

  • Converts from spoken word rather than written
  • Usually transcribed in the same language and then translated into another
  • Offers many different formats for accessibility

Another example would be when a video clip from a Bengali speaker is watched, and a script is created from the Bengali spoken word into English. 

We offer a range of transcription services, from edited and verbatim transcription to multilingual transcription. Our team has over 25 years of experience in the industry, and we’re here to help you.

What are these services best suited to?

Translation services are best suited for any written content. This could include converting text from one document to another for client communication, e-learning or medical translations

Transcription services are ideal for anything with video or audio content, where spoken word can be transcribed. These services can be essential in scenarios such as witness interviews or focus groups in marketing. 

How can we help your industry?

At DA Languages, we cover all of the major public and private sectors for our services, including education, the government, healthcare, retail, legal and many more. Our certified translators are categorised by sector experience, so you get the high-quality service you need for your industry.

Whatever your sector, we have the capability to assist you in all of your needs with translating and interpreting.

We understand the importance of translation and transcription for you

We deliver quality assurance and dedicated project managers to ensure our services are effective and of the highest quality. All of whom hold translation qualifications and speak another language themselves, with access to translation memories.

If you want more information or support regarding translation or transcription services, here at DA Languages, we can help. We offer an array of services for all sectors, so you can guarantee that whatever language barriers you face can be overcome. 

Get in touch to discover more ways we can help today!

A woman sat at her desk working on a transcription project

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Get in touch

Call us on 0161 928 2533 or drop us a message using our form.