Service under the Spotlight: Translation and transcription

Each month, we will be getting better acquainted with a TLS service; when and why you might need it, how to book it and how to make the most of the booking.

You may be new to the world of booking language support, or perhaps you book the same service each time because you don’t know what else is out there, or perhaps you have never considered that something different might work for you – this is for you!

In this issue, we are looking at our translation and transcription service.

It is for you if:

You have a document that you need to send to a service user that cannot read English, or an audio file that you need in the written word.

Our translators will quickly and efficiently turn your document into the target language, localising anything that needs it (eg explaining any cultural references for an non-English audience).

Transcribers will take your audio file and type it up for you.

It is not for you if:

You really need a live conversation. A translation is not a substitute for an interpreted conversation; for example, if you are working in health care, it is better to use an interpreter than to translate information on a patient’s condition, which may leave them with questions you cannot answer.

If you want us to support a live conversation, please speak to our bookings team for a solution.

When it works best:

In any situation where the written word cannot be understood by you or your service user, or where audio files are not an appropriate format (eg you need a written transcript from a long, recorded meeting).

Tips to get the most from your booking:

If you are commissioning a translation for a service user, always check beforehand that they can read the language they speak. Sometimes people will speak one language and read another.

  • Providing the translator with any extra information you think may be relevant will help them to understand the job better, eg your audience, any context or technical information.
  • Our translators work fast, but please remember that this process can take more time than interpreting. If you are in a hurry, let the team know and we will do everything we can to assist you.

Call our bookings team for guidance and support on 0808 175 1230.


Translation of Covid-19 information essential to public health, say health campaigners

Lateral flow rapid antigen tests for covid-19

In Australia, a recent move to more home testing for Covid-19 has once again highlighted the importance of translating health information into community languages.

Health campaigners have asked the Australian government to provide information to those without English on why they should test, how to test and what to do with the results.

In the US, local government bodies have also come in for criticism for a series of poor translations of Covid-19 related public health information. The Biden administration has released information on home testing in the country’s leading languages of English, Spanish and Mandarin, but campaigners fear this still leaves many without access to vital information.

The Australian campaign has asked for images on how to test to be included in instructions. In the UK, NHS home testing kits already provide pictograms, so that anyone with limited English and literacy is able to conduct the tests. Translations of the information are also available in many community languages online here.

If your service users need information provided in their own language by a qualified translator, please get in touch.

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