The number may seem staggering, but Spanish is the native language for more than 340 million people and the number grows every day. It has become one of the five most commonly spoken languages in the world and Latin American nations are becoming big players in global business as their economies grow.

With elevated tourism in Spain and Mexico, and a growing immigrant population in the U.S. it's easy to see where Spanish translation and transcription are necessary for these cultures to merge on a global level.

Global Business - Spanish Transcription & Translation

For those companies expanding their business, Spanish is typically a first choice for marketing, and translation is the fastest way to port existing marketing materials over so they can be utilized in foreign markets. A necessary step when one considers that the Spanish-speaking community is a massive global economy sharing in products, services, cultural influence over businesses and institutions, etc. This is particularly true in the United States, where the Hispanic population has taken hold as the largest minority group.

Transportation and telecommunications, including the web, have brought companies into closer communication, creating a global network that has increased the speed at which data and hard goods travel, business deals are made, accounts are handled, etc. While global businesses are dealing more in Spanish as they market abroad, the primary focus on business where Spanish translation services is concerned is in the U.S.

When there's little need for Spanish translation, such as businesses in the U.S. run by Spanish speakers for Spanish speakers (e.g., TV and radio), Spanish transcription services are all that is needed. The same is true for Puerto Rican businesses, government agencies, and organizations in search of language services (Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States and its residents are U.S. citizens.)

However, in most of the United States, Spanish transcription followed by translation into English, is far more popular and covers a wide area of business and government work such as:

* Marketing - on and offline to immigrants for business purposes

* Business - Spanish transcription and translation of conferences, meetings and foreign delegate dialogue between businesses and/or government officials

* Legal - Typically law enforcement, suspect and witness interviews, 911 calls, court hearings and depositions

* Medicolegal - Often for hearings that cover Veterans Affairs issues stemming from natives of Puerto Rico who served in the U.S. Armed Services (local governments in Puerto Rico conduct business in Spanish but the federal government - of which Veterans Affairs is a part - conducts its business in English - even in Puerto Rico.

* Health Care

* Focus groups - Political, marketing and research, public health, etc.

* Television Subtitles and closed captioning

* Automotive

* Online Education/Webinars

* Financial Records

* Travel and Tourism

Confusion with the Term Spanish Transcription

It's important to note that there is a difference between translation and transcription and to avoid confusion the two should not be interchanged, although some transcription agencies do just that. This has led to some misunderstandings between the client and language services - and even between employees of the language service (e.g., between a project manager and a linguist). A client might state that he wants the Spanish recording transcribed - thinking that he will receive a Spanish transcript. However, the language service understands his request as translating the Spanish audio "on the fly" into English text.

Spanish Audio Transcription

Audio transcription involves converting the spoken word into a written or printed version in the same language and thus is monolingual - meaning that Spanish audio is transcribed into Spanish text.

Spanish Audio Transcription/Translation Services (TT)

Audio transcription/translation (TT) is the combination of both transcription and translation services. It is the process of first taking a Spanish language recording and transcribing it as Spanish text. That transcript is then translated into English text. Both documents are presented to the client.

To avoid cumbersome dialog, some agencies use the term "translication" when referring to transcription/translation. For example, it's much easier to use the word translication and its variants than the awkward transcribed/translated, transcriptionist/translator, and so-on. It's still more common though to hear or see the use of the term transcription/translation.

Some services offer "on the fly" audio translation, where audio/video in Spanish is translated into English text as it is being listened to. There is really no true transcription involved - although sometimes a rough transcript may be produced if the speech is difficult to decipher. While this can produce faster results and is much cheaper, the accuracy of the message may be reduced. This type of translation is often used in marketing for research purposes and business meetings but isn't appropriate for projects where accuracy is critical.

Due to the growth and reach of the Spanish speaking population, it's becoming more important for individual organizations to ensure localization, clarity and cohesion of their message so that the content is in-line with the target audience. Spanish audio translation, transcription, and TT / translication when handled professionally, can help with virtually any market to ensure that the message is properly interpreted and delivered.