doblaje en inglés


In the world of providing linguistic services, there is a certain trend of thinking that the best commercial activity is interlinguistic reproduction or translation. While it is undeniable that this occupies the largest position inside the sector (understood here both in its written and oral variants), said industry is made up of a wide variety of more or less peripheral services which either complement these activities in some manner (transcreation, revision, adaptation, etc.) or make up independent tasks which contribute to broadening the already long list of services that can be provided by translation agencies and their professionals. As we discussed, this sector tends to be associated with interlinguistic activity, but it also performs different intralinguistic activities that are highly necessary for the normal development of several institutions or products. One of the activities that can fall into this field is transcription, which is presented in this article and will be explained in detail as follows.

Transcription is a service that moves away from the most frequent activities in the field of localization. This is due to the fact that it is performed from an auditory channel (for example an audio file, spoken speech) and is changed to a written channel (the transcription itself), unlike the text-text relationship of translation or the speech-speech relationship of interpretation, among other cases. Effectively, transcription is a service which consists of leaving a fragment of oral text in writing, and it can be a necessary activity for a large number of circumstances. For example, transcriptions are fundamental for working on subtitling, which allows the spoken content of an audiovisual material (movies, TV shows, operas) to be registered in writing, making it accessible to deaf persons or those with cognitive disabilities. It can also be recorded to be used later on as translation material and be able to adapt those audiovisual materials to other languages. It is also very common to transcribe speech in trials, in order to leave a written copy of what is said by all present, in order to provide official validity so that they can be used or consulted in the future. In the same vein as trials, when an audio file is presented as evidence, sometimes its transcription is requested in order to provide a copy for each of the parties or make its contents official. Of course, there are many possible reasons for wanting to make a transcription: they can be done for the mere fact of reflecting oral content in writing, distributing printed material about the contents of a presentation, speech or conference, digitalizing audio content in order to search for information in it faster, etc. All of these are proof of the need for a service that can meet all these specific needs.

However, not all transcriptions are equal nor do they reflect the same content. In the world of providing linguistic services, a distinction is usually made between natural transcription and literal transcription. Essentially, natural transcription attempts to reproduce the content of a spoken act in the most practical way possible, eliminating all the content that, if appropriate, does not transmit relevant information. For example, if in an audio file one hears:Hello, good morning. I wa… I was calling. Can you hear me? I was calling to cancel my… in the… my subscription.”, a natural transcription would probably reproduce: “Good morning, I was calling to cancel my subscription.” This form is used in transcriptions of speeches, interviews and similar situations in order to facilitate the reading and overall understanding for the reader. In contrast, literal transcription reproduces every element making up the spoken act, since they can all be crucial for the use or study of the transcription. These tend to be very common, as we mentioned, in legal processes.

In any case, transcription is a task associated with several difficulties, namely that the conditions for these jobs are not always the most comfortable. For example, an extremely common problem when transcribing an audio file is that there may be a high amount of background noise, which keep the words, the tone, the participants and any other information of interest from being distinguished. Although today there are problems with noise dissipation, common practice consists of indicating in brackets that a part of the text is incomprehensible when it is too risky to transcribe something one is not sure of. Likewise, other factors such as the speed at which the speakers are talking and their volume can also affect the transcription. The first problem can be solved by slowing down the audio, and the second, obviously, by increasing the reproduction volume, although it is true that on occasion the speakers sound like they far away and it is impossible to understand what they are saying. Moreover, it may occur that, in a single recording, speakers participate in different languages or with strong accents, which may require the participation of more than one professional in a specific task.

Transcription is definitely a useful task, causing more and more translation agencies and freelance workers to become specialized in it. To do this, they invest in software for voice recognition, transcription, audio editing, as well as writing or following style guides marking transcription guidelines for linguistic or extralinguistic factors, such as tone, laughter and sighs. Today, most of the industry is much more aware of the needs in the transcription market and tries to make better resources available for the clients in order to reach the best results.


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