New Business Toolkit for Localisation and Transcription


DeScribe Language Services has just added two language industry tip sheets to the Business Toolkit on 1) adapting your marketing materials for overseas markets and 2) having audio recordings of conferences, interviews or meetings transcribed.

We’ve had a growing number of requests for projects like these over the last few months so we hope members find them useful. We’d love to talk through any questions and hear how your projects work out!

During the summer of 2021, DeScribe Language Services relocated from Sussex to Cornwall. We’re looking forward, however, to maintaining links with members in Sussex.




Localisation – 5 Top Tips


Tip 1) What is your brand and where specifically is your new target market?

Your LSP will be glad to learn about your brand from your marketing team so the LSP knows exactly how to communicate your message. Also be clear with them about who/where the target audience is, for instance do you need Spanish just for Spain or to cover the Latin American market too? Knowing exactly where your product will be advertised will inform the linguist’s/s’ choices across the whole project.

Tip 2) "Your product is called what?"

Double check with your LSP that your brand name has positive connotations in your target market. (Several models of cars have failed this test!) They'll also check for slogans or word play in your advertising material that may need adapting for best effect in the target market culture. Your LSP will get inventive and suggest alternatives if needed.

Tip 3) Product details.

Your LSP will want to ensure all details in the product description are accurately localised and match your real-life product. Consider which parts of your product or service have been adapted for your target market. Are electrical plugs and specifications the same? Are the controls in the same position and language? Have any presets on the product been adapted from metric to imperial or vice versa? Do images need updating for the adapted product or geographical area? The more details that can be shared with the LSP in the initial stages, the more quickly the adaptation will proceed.

Tip 4) Service details.

Your LSP will also ask about localising other aspects of your service. Do you have separate after-sales contact details for the new region? Which hours and time zone are helplines open? Are any changes to countries and jurisdictions needed for your terms or warranties? Which currencies should be used? Do you have local successes you’d like to highlight? Localising these elements will help your customer feel the materials have been written for them.

Tip 5) Language preferences and presentation.

Tell the LSP in advance how you like your brand name, product or service names presented or if you have certain terms your company prefers to use. If you have a company style guide, forward this too. Then, with the help of specialist software, your LSP will ensure consistency across all your translated or adapted materials. The linguist will adjust all vocabulary, phrasing, spelling, punctuation and grammar to the regional variety you need. If the text needs to be translated from another language, they will ensure the correct varieties are used for your specific target markets.


Transcription – 5 Top Tips


Tip 1) Talk with your LSP before your event to decide together if transcription is the best solution for your setting and purpose. Sometimes written summaries of audio recordings or interpreters rendering a live event into English followed by English transcription may be cheaper and quicker than full transcription or translated transcription. Your LSP will weigh up the costs involved and the level of detail you need.


Tip 2) Try to have one step where possible. Where it is necessary to translate audio, specialist linguists can, for example, produce translated subtitles directly from audio, or produce summaries to a particular brief. These services may be more cost-effective. When clients do require a transcript plus a translation of that transcript into another language or transcription plus subtitling, the LSP will be happy to do this too.


Tip 3) Make sure the audio is clear from all speakers (and ask everyone to speak with the recording in mind). This will reduce transcription costs as it simply takes less time to transcribe a clear audio than one which needs the sound adjusting and several replays to transcribe accurately. If you only need transcription into the same language, clear audio may give you a decent result with auto-transcription software – see tip 5!


Tip 4) Give your transcriber instructions. Which of the following would you like in your transcript?

  1. Time codes – Do you need these in order to navigate the audio later?
  2. Speaker names – Would you like the speakers noted in full, by their initials or by role?
  3. Sounds on the audio – Should background noise, interruptions, laughing, etc. be noted?
  4. Silences – Should lengthy silences be noted?
  5. Inaudible sections – Do you prefer the transcriber use their best guess where possible or always mark it as ‘inaudible’, with the time code if wished?
  6. Verbatim or intelligent verbatim? The latter removes unnecessary fillers and repetition.


Tip 5) Automatic transcription. Every minute of audio takes a human transcriber between 4 and 6 minutes to transcribe, depending on how many elements you’ve included from tip 4. It’s really easy then to see the advantage of automatic transcription software! Auto-transcription can be used if you: need your transcript in the same language as the audio; it’s for informal use; you have clear speakers with standard accents; you don’t need many added notes or formatting. (It can actually take longer to heavily annotate an auto-generated transcript than transcribe manually from scratch.)

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