Audio translation services are a fast and cost-effective way to localize a message.

How audio translation works

An audio file is sent to a company abroad who will transcribe the recorded material into text. The translator then creates an understandable message in their language, which is translated back into English or another target language by another person at the same location as the original recording was made.

This process can be repeated for a multitude of languages, allowing companies to quickly and economically introduce new products and services across borders. Transcription speeds vary from around eight minutes for every one minute of audio recorded onto roughly two minutes per minute of speech depending on accent and background noise levels, but well-trained translators can achieve higher speeds. Most large translation companies rely on an in-house team of audio transcribers to allow for a more consistent delivery time.

Benefits of audio translation

Audio translation services have many obvious benefits for businesses wishing to enter new markets. The most notable is the speed, which is essential when it comes to getting products out there and profiting from overseas interest. Many firms are willing to pay extra if they can get their product or service localized into other languages almost immediately. This helps them achieve exposure rapidly and make money before competitors can act; customers do not want to wait months for a market-ready version of their favorite product or service in another language, even if the quality might be slightly better with the delay.


Costs vary wildly depending on the language, number of words to be translated and time frame required. Some audio files require a lot of editing work to make them comprehensible, while others can be transcribed with little background noise or other problems. When having an entire product catalog localized, companies may find that they have a large amount of unused audio translation capacity at their disposal after it is done as most products will have similar word counts but very different recording lengths. This means that they do not have to spend extra money getting every single file transcribed in case the customer does not speak that particular language.

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Steven Gregory