What is audio translation and why do I need it?

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Audio files and videos are rapidly taking over the world. Think of workplaces, where you might have video presentations for vital training sessions, or instructions might be given as audio files.

This is becoming increasingly common as people move more towards elearning.

This is not the only instance where people rely on audio files. Imagine at university, or professional certification courses, where a lot of the information is given in video form.

What about entertainment media, where you want to enable as many people as possible to see your film or television show, or even a youtube video.

Unfortunately, when you consider that the world has 6000 different languages, this can become a problem. Obviously, such files, training, and shows need to be accessible to a wide range of audiences.


This is why you need reliable audio translation services for any audio files with the spoken word.

What is audio translation?

In simple terms, audio translation is taking a video or audio file which has been recorded in one language, which is known as the source language and translating it into another language, known as the target language.

This is a difficult and time-consuming process, but getting it right can make or break your important training videos, or can turn viewers off from your content.

Who does audio translation?

Anyone can do audio translation as long as they know the two languages. However, for the best translation possible, it should be done by a highly skilled and qualified language expert.

This professional linguist should know both the source language and the target language fluently.

To make their translation even better, they should ideally be a fluent native speaker of the target language – this helps to make sure that their translation will be very accurate, and will also sound natural.

What is native language translation?

Native language translation is when someone translates something into their own native language. They should be fluent in the source language too, but translating into their native language is very important. This is because it helps to make the most natural-sounding translation possible.

Consider it this way – have you ever watched a translated TV show and seen an unnatural phrase? For example “I want to eat chips and fish”. While this is correct, it’s not quite right. Everyone says “fish and chips”. Any native UK English speaker would find this phrasing clunky and wrong, and it will instantly put off native speakers.

This is why it’s so important to get a native professional translator who can really make sure that your audio translations sound natural and properly flowing.

Can a computer do audio translations?

Computer translation services have improved a lot over the last few years. It can be quick and easy to put an audio file through translation software. This is also the cheapest option, and so it is favoured by a lot of people.

However, computer translation software is not a reliable and trustworthy solution for your audio translation needs. While computer programs are very clever, they are no substitute for a trained human linguist. Computer programs can easily make errors as they may not interpret speech properly. They also do not understand the language or the subject matter and can make very awkward-sounding translations which may be off-putting to your target audience.

While computer-aided translation is a promising field, they are nowhere near ready for use in professional matters. For the time being, it’s best to stick to trained and qualified linguists.

What types of audio translation are there?

Audio translation can be tailored to your needs, and to whatever your project is. However, there are a few standard types of audio translation that may help to give you an idea of what is possible.


This is one of the most common types of translation.

This involves replacing the source language audio with new audio in the target language. Any other sounds in the video or audio, such as environmental effects, are kept, it is only the original language that is removed.

This helps keep the highest amount of detail in the new piece, while also making it approachable to people who speak the target language. Most foreign-language films or TV shows will be dubbed for other audiences.

Voiceover translation.

A voiceover is where the original language is lowered in volume, and the target language translation is put over the top. This can help keep authenticity in the piece. This is the most common approach used by news reports and documentaries as nothing is lost from the original.

Final thoughts.

Audio translation is becoming more and more important in the modern world, thanks to more videos being used for e-learning, training, and entertainment.

Getting a proper translation for your audio files is vital for making your work shine.

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