Difference Between Transcription and Translation

What is Transcription?

As you are reading through this article, proteins are being produced by your body, as they are always needed for its protection.

Genes are constituents of DNA that code for proteins responsible for different possible traits in your body e.g., your eye color.

Getting information from these coding genes, so that they can produce protein is essential. This is made possible by RNA (Ribonucleic Acid), which has a huge role in the synthesis of protein.

Protein synthesis has transcription as its first major step, which is a process where DNA is transcribed into a message. DNA is ever-present in the nucleus; therefore, transcription of the message occurs in the nucleus.

In the process of transcription, an enzyme, RNA polymerase, connects “complementarily” the RNA bases to the DNA. These RNA bases bond together to form single-stranded mRNAs.

“M” in mRNA means messenger. mRNA consists of a message made up of RNA that has been based on DNA. mRNAs do not get to move right away after their formation, they are only ready after other processes that get them edited to significant levels.

These edited mRNAs then go out of the nucleus and enter into the Cytoplasm, where they attach to a Ribosome.

And why Ribosome? – They make proteins.

What is Translation?

Translation is the second and concluding part of protein synthesis, and it is a process where ribosomes produce protein.

Single-stranded mRNAs are formed in the nucleus of cells by an enzyme named RNA polymerase, which does so by connecting the RNA bases to the DNA.

mRNAs are sent into the Cytoplasm, where they attach to Ribosomes. In these Ribosomes are tRNA (Transfer Ribonucleic Acid) molecules. tRNAs carry amino acids, which are monomers for proteins. They serve as building blocks.

Mind you, in creating proteins, amino acids are essential. If you have a bunch of amino acids bonded together, you can synthesize a protein.

tRNAs are responsible for bringing amino acids together. tRNAs find their way in finding the right amino acid to bring through the work of the mRNA, as it carries the message of which tRNAs come in, and therefore which amino acids come in.

tRNAs find which compatible mRNAs to combine with and transfer their amino acids to them. tRNAs leave after, but they leave their amino acids behind.

After all these processes, a polypeptide chain of amino acids that were brought in are certain sequences based on the coding of the mRNAs.  

The process of translation is highly complex and requires the coordinated action of several enzymes and other proteins.  

Differences Between Transcription and Translation

  1. Transcription is the process of converting DNA into RNA, while translation is the process of converting RNA into proteins.
  2. Transcription occurs in the nucleus of the cell, while translation occurs in the cytoplasm.
  3. Transcription is carried out by enzymes called RNA polymerases, while translation is carried out by ribosomes.
  4. Transcription is template-dependent, while translation is sequence-dependent.

Comparison Between Transcription and Translation

Parameters of ComparisonTranscriptionTranslation
Base ProcessConversion of DNA into RNA.Conversion of RNA into proteins.
Place of OccurrenceOccurs in the nucleus.Occurs in the Cytoplasm.
Agents of OccurrenceRNA Polymerases.Ribosomes (rRNAs and tRNAs)
Process TypeTemplate-dependent.Sequence Dependent


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022283621005672
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.9b02075