Living language

September 13, 2016
Living language

A healthy language – like a healthy individual – is continually evolving. And in the digital age, this process is vastly accelerated.

Neologisms and verbal hybrids which, in the past, may have taken years to enter accepted speech now have the ability to enter our lives 24/7 through the endless deluge of digital dialogue & content made possible by smartphones, social media and instant mobile messaging.

Even so, it’s easy for a native speaker who’s lived outside his or her home country for a number of years to lose touch with the latest linguistic trends in their home country. Technology, especially when employed by global commerce and the young, simply acts as a catalyst for the ever-evolving global languagescape, so that now the same thing happens über-fast.

Examples of words and acronyms that just a few years ago barely existed include vlogging, vaping, binge-watching, YOLO, KMT (kissing my teeth), SMH (shaking my head), TB (throwback), ILYSM (I love you so much), UOENO (you don’t even know [how good something is]) and IDEK (I don’t even know).

The rate of loan-word adoption in languages other than English has also been given a massive boost in the digital age. Germans and Italians have long been notable linguistic Anglophiles, but the process is now vastly accelerated.

The speed of adoption of new terms and words presents a unique challenge for brands, who need to break through the noise and communicate with customers in an authentic, familiar way, also reflecting & demonstrating sensitivity to the linguistic quirks and trends of the moment. All the while without trying too hard and missing the mark.

If global messaging is to sound authentic, it needs to stay current. And the only way to ensure this is to have centralised content localised by native speakers in each territory. Talent that lives in that market, breathing and imbibing the local culture on a daily basis as a matter of course.

Only a native has the skill necessary to communicate in a compelling way to other native speakers. And because language is continually evolving in response to the evolving culture, native talent must have their ears to the cultural ground.

The good news is that the same technology that acts as a catalyst for linguistic evolution also forms part of the solution. So that follow-the-sun monitoring of your multilingual social channels by native talent around the globe should now be a breeze.

Find out more about how to keep your global language current by getting in touch with Verboo at or on + 44 203 031 6151. We’re a team of multilingual wordsmiths with a wealth of experience helping clients bring their content to life on any device, anywhere, in any language.


Translation vs. Transcreation – what is it, and which one’s right for me?

July 28, 2016
Translation vs. Transcreation – what is it, and which one’s right for me?

For a few years now, there’s been a new service in town for people looking to buy language services – namely, transcreation.

Transcreation has in fact been around for several decades, though its popularity has boomed recently. One of the reasons for this is a reaction to the development of services like Google Translate, and people’s consequent perceptions (and misconceptions) of what translation is… contrasted with what they actually want.

Increasingly, there is an understanding that translation is an automated process involving a simple algorithm, or a ‘painting-by-numbers’ approach to converting a text from one language into another – like a ‘cut and paste’ job. Which, as any professional translator will tell you, is not the case.

So what is the difference between transcreation and translation? More importantly, which one should you be asking for?

Reputable LSPs (language service providers) will be able to recommend the right service for you based on the brief you give them. But it’s still good to know the basics, so you as a buyer can make an informed choice. A process which can benefit your marketing strategy, forcing you to ask key questions about the intended purpose of your content.


Professional translation is always performed by a human, and a good professional translation should always read as if it were originally written in the target language (the language it was translated into). A professional translation should have impeccable grammar and good sentence structure, and be error- and typo-free. If there are simple mistakes in the source (original) text, then these should be corrected in the translation as a matter of course. It’s not unusual for a good translation to read better than the original text.

Translation is the right service when you need to transfer information accurately from one language to another. It’s appropriate when creativity or ambiguity can be a bad thing – for example:

-terms & conditions / legals;
-technical product descriptions.

Technical documentation consisting of lists of mechanical components, with no sentence structure (where there is no reader engagement) may be automatically translated from translation memory (built from pre-existing human translation). But even that type of text would need to be checked by a human with the relevant specialist knowledge: ideally a professional translator with expertise in the relevant technical field.

Technology can make professional translation more efficient and cost-effective, but human involvement is still critical.


Transcreation is a profoundly creative exercise, with practically zero technological input.
That’s because the goal of transcreation is to connect emotionally with consumers in different cultures, and to translate ideas effectively, rather than simply words.

Transcreation work is typically undertaken by a copywriter, and may involve substantially altering copy from the original version, so that it’s culturally relevant to the local audience. More time and effort is usually invested in a shorter amount of copy. For short copy, different routes or alternatives may be provided with explanations for the client, who often doesn’t understand or speak the local language.

Transcreation can be divided into long or short copy, the common theme being that more thought goes into the process, and more artistic or creative licence can be taken with the copy than for translation. Indeed, this is often precisely what the client wants.

So, it’s usual to request transcreation for the adaptation of creative copy – for example:

-straplines / taglines;
-sales & marketing content;
-branding copy.

Think of any successful international ad campaign, and the marketing copy at its heart will usually have been adapted by copywriters based in each of the local markets. Often advice will be offered by the copywriter producing the local copy on appropriate use of images and other visuals. Overall, the approach is more consultative and less linear than for translation.

Find out more by getting in touch with Verboo at or on 0203 031 6151. We’re a team of multilingual professionals with several decades’ experience helping clients bring their content to life on any device, anywhere, in any language.


Between the lines

March 30, 2016
Between the lines

It’s not often that songs produced in foreign languages make it into the UK charts, but when they do, they tend to be those annoyingly catchy pop tunes that stay in your head for hours on end. Here’s a list of 4 recent(ish) foreign language hits and a brief explanation of what we’ve actually been “singing” along to this whole time. Let us know in the comments section if you can think of any we’ve missed out!

1) 99 Luftballons by Nena

This German 80’s classic is a Karaoke favourite and although the music may seem relatively cheery, this was an anti-war protest song illustrating how governments gain power in times of conflict. In the end the 99 balloons released cause a 99 year-long war and unending devastation… Not so cheery now!

2) Macarena by Los del Río

With over 99 million views on YouTube, it’s not a surprise that we’ve been reminded of the existence of this Spanish smash hit at every wedding since 1994. I think it’s also safe to say that we’ll continue to be reminded of this song until the end of time. Unbeknown to me, however, the lyrics are about a girl named Macarena who cheats on her boyfriend with two of his friends. Don’t let that crush your 90’s soul though!

3) Gasolina by Daddy Yankee

Released in 2004, you may be surprised to find out that Daddy Yankee’s reggaetón classic was not actually written about gasoline as we know it. The word is Puerto Rican slang for a girl who likes to “cruise” the streets in a car. To quote Urban Dictionary, a direct translation of “A ella le gusta la gasolina” would be “She likes fuel”, which correctly interpreted means “She likes to roll/cruise” or “hit the streets”.

4) Gangnam Style by PSY

Last but not least, this Korean-pop banger hit our ears back in 2012, and with over 2 billion YouTube views, it’s apparently YouTube’s most watched video of all time. The song was written to mock those who live in the Gangnam district of Seoul in South Korea, and the lavish, hipster-wannabe lifestyle they stereotypically lead. This part of town has been likened to the gentrified parts of Shoreditch in London and Soho in New York.

Louise, Senior Project Manager, Verboo