Why are translators asked to do transcriptions?
Thread poster: KateKaminski

KateKaminski
Local time: 04:31
German to English
Aug 18, 2014

Is it because they both start with "trans"?

In my view, these are two completely different types of jobs with different required skill sets.

Even when it comes to transcribing from one language to another - why not ask someone native in the source language to transcribe the text and then send it to a translator?

Transcribers also (ideally) need specialist equipment which is not required for translation.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 11:31
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Who are you to say that they can't? Aug 18, 2014

Surely a freelance translator is allowed to take the occasional transcription job if he happens to have the free time. Clients tend to look to language companies for transcription services and these companies tend to look at their database of freelancers who would primarily be translators. Many translators have experience in transcription and they are not required to relinquish work opportunities that they find sufficiently attractive.

At the end of the day, you are not required to do it at all, and it is really none of your concern that other people choose to do it.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:31
Member (2012)
French to English
How about this... Aug 18, 2014

After registering as a translator on a certain site, I got notified about a job doing a voiceover for a film, in English with a Chinese accent. Sadly, I had to decline.

 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:31
Danish to English
+ ...
Probably because they are later going to translate the text Aug 19, 2014

Although transcription is quite a menial task as compared to translation , it can be quite helpful to do the transcription yourself if you are later to translate the transcribed text. This may save you time having to run through the recorded text while you translate to verify any dubiously transcribed text, and in fact, even while transcribing, you will be thinking of how to translate the text, so in the end it becomes quite an efficient work process.

I have done the odd transcription job, and it doesn't bother me, as long as I get paid my standard hourly translator's rate... But yes, having the right equipment does help, which I haven't now... icon_biggrin.gif


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 04:31
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
I never said translators should reject transcriptions if they want to do them Aug 19, 2014

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Surely a freelance translator is allowed to take the occasional transcription job if he happens to have the free time. Clients tend to look to language companies for transcription services and these companies tend to look at their database of freelancers who would primarily be translators. Many translators have experience in transcription and they are not required to relinquish work opportunities that they find sufficiently attractive.

At the end of the day, you are not required to do it at all, and it is really none of your concern that other people choose to do it.


I never said they can't - just that it seems odd to be offered this sort of job as if it's practically the same as translating.

From my experience it is not at all, and I have often been asked to transcribe English - English audio recordings.

[Edited at 2014-08-19 14:55 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:31
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Take it as a compliment! Aug 19, 2014

I think it's just because they have confidence in our language skills.

It's true that you acquire a knack of working out what that mumbled word is, by dint of having to decipher mispelt words and touch-typed words where the typist is off mark (Notyhrtn Itrlrznf anyone?). Once a student I was mentoring was completely flummoxed by the name of an artist they'd never heard of, but I just googled a bit with a couple of other key words from the text and found the name (and I'd never heard of him either actually)


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 11:31
Chinese to English
Part of the same process Aug 19, 2014

KateKaminski wrote:

...it seems odd to be offered this sort of job as if it's practically the same as translating.

That's true, but from the client's point of view it is often all one process. They have a video in language X and they want either a text or dubbed version in languages P, Q and R. They go to a translation agency to get it done, and who does the translation agency have in their database? Us.

It's just one of those quirks of the industry, I guess. I've done a few, and found them quite interesting.


 


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Why are translators asked to do transcriptions?

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