Transcription usually refers to something that is written down from a tape recording or live version of a person speaking. A translation is when something is spoken or written in one language and is then put into another.
Transcription and translation are also terms used in genetics.
Transcription is the process of making an RNA copy of a gene sequence. The copy, called mRNA, leaves the cell nucleus to enter the cytoplasm, where it directs protein synthesis. Translation is the process of translating the mRNA’s sequence into a sequence of amino acids during protein synthesis.
As maggief says transcription is the act of transcribing DNA into RNA (not just mRNA but tRNA and rRNA and even non-coding RNA). RNA polymerases (Pol I Pol II and Pol III in humans) do this work inside the nucleus, but enzymes such as T7 RNA polymerase can be purified for in vitro RNA synthesis. The RNA can then be translated into proteins. Ribozomes do this work inside the cell. They load on to the promoter sequence and decode the mRNA (the only RNA that gets translated) three bases at a time to connect amino acids and make proteins.
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