Audio Translation and Document Translation: What’s the Difference?
Back to articles

Audio Translation and Document Translation: What’s the Difference?

Consider some of the reasons why someone might need translation: A business owner wants to advertise in a number of languages, or a college student has found research in a foreign journal. In each of these cases, document translation would be perfect. But in today's technologically advanced world, filled with streaming audio and YouTube videos, document translation may not be enough. That's when audio translation comes into play.

In document translation, the translator takes what is written in the source language and converts the document to the target language or languages. Translators have the ability to accurately and efficiently rewrite your advertisement so that it can be understood by everyone in your market area even when you speak only English and the market area is a mixture of English speakers as well as immigrants from Haiti, Ethiopia, China, and Russia.

Translators can also take the legal terms of that purchase-and-sale agreement written in Spanish and provide the precise meaning in English so that there's no misunderstanding this winter when you want to enjoy the sun on the Canary Islands from the comfort of your new lanai. Similarly, the American doctoral student researching Abigail Adams who discovers letters written by her in French can use a document translator to learn exactly what she wrote about John Adams when he was the US ambassador to France in 1785.

We've looked at a couple of document translation cases. What about audio translation? Maybe you're an international relations scholar who recorded a presentation at a seminar given in German. But, guess what? Your knowledge of German is limited to the Schadenfreude, Zeitgeist, and über-anything that you picked up in college. An audio translator can convert that German talk so that you can incorporate its meaning into the paper you have to write by the next day. Or maybe you're an afficionado of world music who has an .mp3 file of a hauntingly beautiful song being sung in a language you don't know. An audio translator can determine that the song is Hungarian and provide you with a Word document of the lyrics in English or whatever your native language is.

In fact, the audio translator can work with a number of file types. The most common are .mp3, .wav, and .wma, but even obscure audio file types can be translated. Video file types that can be translated include .wmv and .avi formats, beyond the more common .mov.

So it comes down to this: If you need to convert a written document into a language you can understand, then you need document translation. If you have a recording—audio or video—that's in a foreign language, then you need audio translation. Either way, Verbal Ink's team of trained language specialists are ready to help!