Audio Video Translation: Round up the usual suspects

audio video translation - the usual suspects

(Unnecessary) Anglicisms in audio video translation

For translators working in audio video translation, the audio video industry makes it a challenge. Indeed, it is very prone to incorporating and extending terms from the English language. This is nothing new if we take into account how familiar terms such as video on demand, streaming, trailer, etc. sound to us.

Impacts on Audio Video Translation

With regard to the audio video industry – that is, the sector that is in charge of cinematographic, television, advertising productions and those related to Internet content, the influence of English on audio video translation is evident, especially because of the impact of the United States and United Kingdom in the industry.

Audio video translation: Fun or dismay?

Undoubtedly a little of both, not in the face of the routine invasion of English words in the French Audio Video Translation. Most of the time, it is so unnecessary, alas, particularly when there are equivalent terms in French with the same meaning. Yet, in the face of the invasion of English words, there are artificially francized words to make them more or less presentable or coherent with our grammar.

Not another word, PLEASE!

The other day, on the radio, a journalist abruptly interrupted a critic who developed the plot: “Not another word, please, you are not going to spoil it for me! “

This term has recently gained some popularity in French: “spoiler”, from the English to spoil, meaning to ruin, wreck, destroy, botch.

Indeed, the English verb “to spoil” echoes the French equivalent, to strip, or to the Latin of despoliare origin which can also take the meaning of stripping.

Strip someone of their clothes, right?

From there, it just takes a few easy steps to claim that we strip a film when we reveal its fall (only erotomaniac directors strip their actresses at the slightest pretext and, when it comes down to it, are first interested in their downfall, but they do not “spoil” their scripts in advance). But then, I digress.

Spoiler alert in audio video translation

The indispensable Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France (DGLFLF) has proposed an equivalent to “spoiler”: divulgâcher.

I applaud this initiative. But it seems very long to me, four syllables.

I hardly believe in its success. When it comes to languages, short is always better.

Some terms missing their audio video translation Yet

Something similar is the word streaming, which refers to either the transmission of live multimedia content, or the continuous reproduction of audio video content without having to complete its download.

The translations or equivalences of this term, therefore, vary depending on the meaning. If we translate it as a live broadcast, we would obviate the meaning of ‘continuous reproduction without the need to complete its download’.

Closely related to streaming, we find the expression video on demand – or its acronym VOD – which refers to content that can be viewed at any time or when the user requests it. As an alternative to this Anglicism, we can name other phrases such as on demand, on request or à la carte.

Anglicisms on television

Television also leaves us numerous English words: teaser (preview of the content of a series or program), share and rating, spin-off (series born from another series).

More established in use are terms such as show (and TV reality show, which refers to a program or show format that aims to reflect the “reality” of its participants), Prime time or PPV (acronym for Pay Per View).

Why it is difficult to use the audio video translation

In many cases, the translation or equivalence in French is less practical for various reasons; among them we could mention that audio video translation is not always a one by one thing – as it happens, for example, with streaming or spin-off – and the ideas of openness and prestige that the use of terms in English seems to confer.

We must also bear in mind that, although there are equivalents in French – the use is determined by the speakers themselves. For this reason, even though the DGLFLF might offer alternatives to English words, in the end it is the speakers who decide which words to use. spoiler and streaming are simplyliked more than their French counterparts. That is the way it is and this has consequences on audio video translation.

Language: the most democratic and participatory tool?

Language is, perhaps, the most democratic and participatory tool that we have at our fingertips, because with the use we make on a daily basis, we are exercising a commitment to it. For this reason, the linguistic recommendations – in this case, to avoid the use of unnecessary Anglicisms – do not always have the reception that one might expect. Hence, in the title, the word unnecessary in parentheses.

Does absolute bilingualism exist? Mastering only one language at a time…


Bilingualism is nearly taken for granted as communicating in two or more languages ​​is almost an imperative of the society in which we live. In this way, there are people who are capable of speaking two, three or more languages ​​almost without problems. This is a fact that allows us to be more permeable to everything that happens in a globalized world like ours. These people, depending on the degree of knowledge they have in several languages, may be considered as bilingual, trilingual or multilingual. Now, at what point can one say that a person “speaks” several languages? 

A Bilingualism Definition

According to common definitions, bilingualism is the ‘habitual use of two languages ​​in the same region or by the same person’. Thus, we can say that Galicia is a bilingual community and, at the same time, that someone is if they speak frequently in several languages.

This definition may be concise, as it does not refer to what is understood by habitual use or allude to the degree of knowledge that must be had in both languages. In the definition of bilingual, for example, the first meaning is the following: ‘Who speaks two languages’. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, however, a definition is offered in which the idea of ​​the same degree of knowledge in both languages ​​is highlighted: 

A definition of bilingual

‘One. Having or expressed in two languages’.

‘Two. Using or able to use two languages ​​especially with equal fluency’. 

If we take into account that the verb to speak is, in its simplest meaning, ‘to emit words’, then we must think that there are many bilingual people that we could imagine at first. This view would be, therefore, the most relativistic, and would only take into account the habitual use and the ability to speak in more than one language. 

Minimal Knowledge of Another Language

Along these lines, the linguist John Macnamara (1967) argues that a person can be considered bilingual if they master, even to a minimal degree, one of the four basic linguistic skills in a language other than their mother tongue. Those skills are, roughly speaking, writing, listening and reading. 

However, this very lax view about bilingualism is not held by all linguists, since, following such criteria, bilinguals would be both people who have a minimum command of a second language and those who have a native command of two languages.

Fluent or native knowledge

This question of degrees is fundamental; For this reason, Leonard Bloomfield (1933) defined bilingualism as “the native command of two languages.” And, along the same lines, David Crystal (1987) assures that people who can be considered as such are really an exception: «People who have ‘perfect’ fluency in two languages do exist, but they are the exception, not the rule ». Other authors, such as Hagège (2005), establish bilingualism in the absence of interference and linguistic contamination between the two languages, for which a sufficient command of both is needed.

Compound and Coordinated Bilingualism

The notions of monolingual, diglossic, compound bilingual, and coordinated bilingual are also framed in this same line (Feldman, 1977). For this author, it would only be necessary to take into account the age of acquisition of the language (s) when talking about defining someone as bilingual. 

Thus, according to this theory, composite bilinguals are those people who have acquired a second language after acquiring their mother tongue, a fact that manifests itself in that semantic coding – the way in which they interpret the world through words – reflects the dominant culture during his childhood.

The coordinated bilingual differ from those that have acquired both languages in their childhood – before eight years and are able to express natively on both without any linguistic interference. This implies, therefore, that the speaker has been educated in a context in which there is no predominant culture over another, as occurs, for example, in bilingual areas where one language is studied at school and another is spoken at home.

Bilingualism and Biculturalism

Both positions seem to move in two extremes insofar as it refers, on the one hand, to the minimum degree of competition and, on the other, to native competition. As can be seen, in both cases reference is being made to linguistic competence and not to other factors. For example, one can speak of the notion of biculturalism referred to by Grosjean (1982); According to this author, bilingualism must be considered in relation to the cultural contexts in which it develops. 

In this way, there is a bicultural bilingualism, which takes place when a speaker feels identified with the cultures of both languages, which implies, therefore, having lived and been in contact with both cultures, and a monocultural bilingualism, which it occurs when cultural identity occurs only in one of the two languages. 

In short, are there fully bilingual speakers?

Answering this question is not a simple question since, as it has been tried to outline in these lines, the notion of bilingualism has been interpreted from different points of view – sociolinguistic, cultural, cognitive, etc. – and different answers can be offered depending on the theory we embrace. Everything will depend, therefore, on the importance we attach to concepts such as use, acquisition and fluency. 

Language certificates: Are they really necessary?

Language certificates

Language certificates are an essential requirement for almost any resume

Language certificates are there, precisely, because both job offers and offers of degrees, postgraduates and different scholarships require it. In the specific case of translators, certification is a sine qua non condition from the first years of their career since a translator must be required to master both the mother tongue (or of origin) as of the target. Now, are language certificates the best way to demonstrate the level of mastery of a language?

Mastery of a Second Language

As is well known, the level of mastery is established in relation to different standards; the international one is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR), based on a scale ranging from level A1 (the most basic) to C2 (command of the language). This criterion aims to provide “a common basis for the development of programs, curricular guidelines, exams, manuals, etc., throughout Europe” (Council of Europe, 2002, p. 17).

Likewise, the common framework approach aims to describe and teach what students must know to communicate in a foreign language; that is, what knowledge and skills must be managed in order to have a competence in another language and be able to use it in a daily context.

In this way, the CEFR allows planning, on the one hand, learning programs – objectives, content and selection of materials. On the other hand, its objective is certification ​​based on the description of the contents of the exams and the evaluation criteria based on the positive performance of the students.

What are language certificates useful for?

Language certificates are an essential requirement in certain contexts. In academia, for example, language certificates may be required to study at a foreign university or to enrol in a degree, postgraduate or doctoral program.

Furthermore, many universities include credits in their degrees – the most common is English . To obtain a degree, students have had to show a certain command of a foreign language – depending on university, a minimum level of B1 or B2 is required.

These language certificates are also required in the processes of obtaining nationalities. For example, to have Spanish nationality it is necessary, in addition to passing the CCSE test (Test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of Spain), to accredit an A2 level of Spanish through the DELE Spanish diploma of the Cervantes Institute.

Language certificates are also required in job offers; in some cases, not having them prevents the application from going ahead. This occurs when mastery of a second language is required that will be used as much or more than the applicant’s mother tongue. For example, some competitive examinations in Spain set a linguistic requirement such as mastering, in addition to Spanish, the co-official lingo of the territory in which the position is offered.

What do language certificates prove?

As we have indicated above, language certificates follow certain standards to set the levels of mastery, around which the learning programs and exams are articulated. However, the fact that the level of mastery depends on an exam – or a certificate – invites us to think about how teaching is planned.

In the first place, because languages ​​are conceived in relation to titles, that is, as keys that allow doors to be opened. And, indeed, this is so because they ​​are communication systems, but not because they are the means for obtaining a degree that, in turn, allows access to a job. Furthermore, the absence of language certificates attesting to mastery does not imply that a speaker cannot be competent in another tongue.

Language Certificates as Filters

In many cases, language certificates serve as filters to know the command of a language – for example, in job selection processes – without taking into account that there are people who master several languages ​​without having an official accreditation for it. If one takes into account that it is possible to acquire falsified certifications – just take a look on the Internet or on the deep web – the paradox may arise that someone with an official title does not know how to say a word in that language, pulling by land the entire theoretical basis of the standardization of the domain of languages.

Division of Languages ​Is an Artificial Fragmentation

Second, the division of languages ​​into watertight compartments is an artificial fragmentation, a mere convention, which is not necessarily based on daily performance, but rather conforms to the criteria designed by teaching programs. If the purpose of the teaching programs is focused on knowing how to function in an exam model, then the student will know how to take an exam on vocabulary or grammar, but will not necessarily know how to handle a conversation away from the classrooms.

If the example is allowed, something similar happens with the driver’s license: you are taught to pass a test by repeating – sometimes in intensive courses – many different tests. As with the practical exam: you are taught how to pass an exam, but you learn how to drive later, on a day-to-day basis and when there is no longer a teacher as co-driver. Something similar happens with language teaching: patterns are taken as a basis and students are guided on how to take an exam. The language is acquired later, with the use and with the need to communicate.

Conclusion About the Usefulness of Language Certificates

In short, the usefulness of language certificates is indisputable both for the labour market and for academics, since it is agreed that accreditation  is certified by the knowledge of a second language. Although, in reality, what proves the knowledge of a language is its implementation. Because, as they say, “movement is demonstrated by walking.”

Marketing Translation – Languages and Marketing, such a good combination

marketing translation - Languages and Marketing, such a good combination

Marketing translation – Never two areas were as complementary and necessary as they are today, language and marketing.

In recent years, the fields of marketing and translation have experienced great interest from professionals and consumers, due to the arrival of television on demand, social networks and, in general, the force with which it has broken the digital realm in our lives.

In this context, people with training in languages ​​and in marketing and communication have much to offer, because we combine commercial knowledge, that is, what tools and techniques are the best to sell in the digital environment, with excellent knowledge of our language, and marketing translation.

As a marketing translator, I have tried over the years to extract the best of these two disciplines. I would like to share my experience of marketing translation with an excerpt of an interview held on Buzzsprout in November 2019 about translation and marketing. Here it is…

What are you currently focusing on?

Currently, I dedicate 100% to digital marketing. As a freelance translator, I work on social networks, email marketing campaigns, social media ads, blogging for companies and SEO which I translate from English into French.

In addition, I always dedicate an important percentage of my time to training and updating, since the marketing translation sector is always constantly evolving and it is essential to be up to date.

What has led you to devote yourself to digital marketing from the linguistic field?

The truth is that, in my case, it has been a natural process, nothing premeditated. While it is true that I studied Translation and Interpretation of English and French, from the beginning I have been more linked to the business sector than to translation itself.

Throughout my professional career, I have worked for SMEs and also for large multinationals and all that experience has opened the way for me and clarified the ideas about what I want to do, what I like, what I do better and also, of course, where I don’t want to go back to.

In digital marketing, I really enjoy developing my creativity and it is also a very dynamic task, where every day is different. You can’t fall asleep on your laurels because you have to always be up to date. And that motivates me! On the other hand, working on my own has given me the flexibility I needed to spend time with my family. And, unlike other translation projects, where sometimes you get a subtitle project that you have to deliver in two weeks and you need to work day and night during that time to meet the deadlines, in marketing translation, projects are not as urgent. They are usually long-term jobs, with which I can make work and family much more compatible. That factor is my case has been decisive.

Do you combine marketing with translation or is it something you do sporadically?

No. Although I do a lot of English and French subtitles and dubbing, today I can say that I dedicate 100% of my time to digital marketing. However, digital marketing and translation, linguistics and communication are areas that go hand in hand. So many times, I translate web pages, translate content for blogs from English to French ​​or correct texts that are going to be published, so I apply my linguistic and marketing knowledge in equal parts.

After all, the possibility of combining my two passions is fascinating and enriching.

What are the main challenges you encountered when you decided to start?

The challenges facing an entrepreneur are always the same, with the difference that not everyone has the same economic and family situation.

In my specific and particular case, undertaking marketing translation meant not having the stability of a job with a specific schedule and salary and looking for something better, more flexible and more motivating.

It is never easy to lose your comfort zone, especially when we have been taught that you have to aspire to have something fixed, whatever it is, whether you like it or not and try to retain it forever. However, experience has taught me that if we are going to have to work a lifetime, it is very hard to perform a position that you do not like or feel that your work will not have any progression in the next 30 years.

So, the biggest challenge was to visualize myself doing what I liked and go for it. I think you’ll always regret not having tried to do what you love, whatever it is.

What challenges do you think the translation sector faces today?

From my humble point of view, I believe that the greatest challenge is to get the work of a professional translator sufficiently valued, so that machines can never replace a job as complex as translation.

On the other hand, I believe that curricula for Degrees of Translation are totally outdated and disconnected from the real world that the translator will find at the end. It is an aspect that should be changed urgently. I believe that areas such as taxation, business administration, human resource management and even personal development or stress management should be reflected in some way in almost all studies.

Remember that we are in a globalized world, where you may study in Berlin, do internships in Tokyo and end up setting up a company in Bali. We need more training to get as far as we want.

What about challenges in marketing translation?

Digital marketing has numerous aspects and, in my opinion, there are two important challenges:

Create versatile, integrating and powerful tools that include all the work of marketing in one, to facilitate the work of professionals from a single platform. From where you can program, analyse, monitor and manage a multitude of platforms (websites, networks, blogs, e-commerce, advertising, translation, etc.). We are currently forced to have 200 applications and 500 programs to cover everything. And that makes the task difficult and affects productivity.

Humanize the world of marketing. By that, I mean stop thinking like machines and see the customer as a person. Empathize with him/her and avoid the dreaded bombing of campaigns we receive from some companies. It’s hard to set a limit, but I think we should make marketing a friend of the customer and not an enemy. In other words: ‘make as many marketing campaigns as you would like to receive as a customer.’

What added value can a translator bring to the field of digital marketing?

Very much. There are many professionals in the marketing translation sector who, for one reason or another, have moved to the digital marketing sector.

In my opinion, once a translator has been trained in this area and has even deepened in one of its areas (SEM, copywriting, SEO, web design, etc.), either with work experience or through a course specialization, your work can be very valuable for both a company and working as a freelancer.

We must bear in mind that translators specialized in marketing translation have a very deep knowledge of communication itself, as well as mastery of one or several foreign languages. If you combine this with any field of knowledge, the result will be truly exceptional. But in marketing, in addition, I think writing, communicating, expressing yourself, being able to convince and persuade, empathizing, generating emotions, these skills have an enormous value…

A translator trained in digital marketing will feel valued, versatile, useful and, above all, motivated, if he/she likes to overcome challenges and not stagnate.

What would you say to translation and interpreting students who are considering taking this path?

The truth is that I’ve been in this industry for 25+ years and I’ve found many translators along the way. Each and every one of us can have family, economic or health difficulties, but the limitations in the end are in oneself.

A translator who is completing his/her studies does not have to think that they should spend the rest of their life sitting by their computer translating because they have no other option (without belittling anyone who wants to do it). There are a lot of options beyond that. Either linking their translation skills to digital marketing or other sectors. I think growing is key.

And if a person feels motivated by advertising, communication or marketing, go for it! From my point of view, a translator has a lot of future in marketing translation and digital marketing, as long as he.she trains, is patient, constant, humble and gives himself/herself time to evolve. In my opinion, a translator can go as far as he/she wants. It only depends on their ambition, desire to learn and overcome challenges.

8 reasons to Study Translation and interpretation

Study translation and learn a new skill

Globalization and the pace of life bring us closer and closer to ‘global internalization’. So, it is essential to know at least one foreign language, and push it ‘a bit’ forward which might lead, like it did for me, to study translation and interpretation and make a career out of it. 

Study translation – Why it’s worth it

Previously, we talked about the benefits of knowing a foreign language and now we are going to concentrate on why study translation and interpretation might be worth it. Here’s why:

  1. If you have always been interested in communicating in writing from one language to another, this could be your career. It is when you realize that translating produces a feeling of happiness even though you might not yet have begun to learn the keys, rules and tricks of the world. Study translation and interpretation and you can be one of them… Sorry, one of us.
  2. Wanting to give a meaning to your already acquired linguistic knowledge and take advantage of it in your work is enough to put away your doubts once and for all.
  3. If what you want is to interpret in a booth, on a stage, or in a meeting. Do not hesitate, it is a magnificent profession that will make you sweat, feel nervous, learn and continue to learn continuously, catch up on news and news, feel that bug in your stomach that ends up becoming a smile and infinite satisfaction when you leave a cabin in which you have been giving the best of yourself and everyone congratulates you… You will have good and bad times and at the beginning everything will cost you a lot. But if you like it, don’t think twice.
  4. You like to travel and move in an international environment and whenever you have gone on vacation, you were like a child with a new toy, hearing speak a language different from yours: this is the way to go. Sign up to study translation and interpretation!
  5. You have a good ear and a good memory, because as my classical French teacher used to say: languages ​​can be learned by heart! Discover what it feels like to enter a performance booth for the first time. It is amazing!
  6. Your friends like to go shopping but you’d rather enter a bookstore to browse the latest and long-awaited edition of a great dictionary and you still don’t know why… I tell you: study translation and you might have found your path. What do you say?
  7. Don’t know yet where to work? Study translation opens up a world of possibilities. You’ll be able to find work with embassies, travel and tourism agencies, translation agencies, judicial agencies, publishing companies, state agencies that deal with foreign trade, companies that need to gain a foothold in the international sphere, subtitle and double films, teachers, non-governmental organizations, set up your own translation agency and be autonomous, etc. The list is almost endless.
  8. Study translation and you’ll be surrounded by students, specialists and other personalities who are passionate about languages and literature, just like you. Look for the nearest university or the one with the best prospects and sign up for your new career.

Want to Study Translation, Talk to the Professionals

Still having doubts, of course. Talk to a student or a professional who has opted for this path. Sometimes, it is necessary to know the impressions of a person who has already got fully into this world.

I hope I have opened your eyes a little. There are many opportunities for those who chose to study translation. Still, it is a decision that involves a lot of effort and work but if you want to be good at something, it is worth the effort.

A Passion for Languages leading to Study Translation

As for me, what led me to study precisely this very same path? A passion for languages, for learning, a fine ear (I think), meeting people who like the same things as me, travelling and being able to communicate with other people in their own language (and show off a little with my newly acquired skills), feeling great when entering an interpretation booth and end with a smile from ear to ear…

If you recognize yourself in that description, go for it! 

French Language: Don’t just teach it, translate it

French language in classroom

Translation as a French Language Teaching Tool

Translation can be controversial when it comes to language teaching. Yet, as a former French language teacher in my youth, some of the best and unforgettable teaching moments came with the use of translation.

Not Every Word Has Its Equivalent in Another Language

The use of classroom translation with children might be counterproductive. Why is that? Because it makes students believe that every language has an equivalent word in its target language. Something that every translator (and French language teacher!) knows that it is far from true. However, it may be difficult to completely avoid translation with early-stage learners, especially when it comes to adults, since they are already able to express themselves using more sophisticated vocabulary. However, demonstrating what problems a “literal” translation brings can be a good teaching tool at basic and intermediate levels. It could help demonstrate not only the complexity of L1 (first language) and L2 (second language or non-native language) and the importance of understanding context and culture, along with grammar and vocabulary.

Benefits of Translation Are Significant at Proficient Levels

The pedagogical benefits of translation are even more significant at advanced levels as a tool to explore the complexities of the language and culture of texts that vary in type, perspective, and purpose. Many of my memories as a French language teacher come from teaching a bit of translation in class in the UK. After achieving a certain level of proficiency with the students, translation classes can show not only the translation process itself, but help students delve deeper into the meaning of words and ideas, as well as the diversity of interpretation at various levels and stages of comprehension and translation.

Literary Texts to Demonstrate the Diversity of Translation

One type of text that worked very well to demonstrate the diversity of interpretation is small literary texts. Poems and short stories are ideal, especially when we had access to a number of different translations of the same text. By studying several professional translations, students can point out which ideas had been interpreted in different ways and work backwards to find a better way of understanding the context and meaning of the text itself.


Translation Should Not Be the Focus of a Language Lesson

This exercise in itself already confirmed that a simple question such as “What does this word mean in _____ language?” can be very problematic. It also demonstrates that translation should not be the focus of any language lesson. Thinking about the direct comparison between two languages ​​leads us to over-simplification and ignoring possible gaps in meaning; two common mistakes that can be alleviated using translation as a pedagogical approach.

A Fantastic Opportunity to Find Out About the Translation Industry

In addition to learning about the diversity of interpretations and the complexity of languages, translation as a pedagogical tool gives students the skills they need to translate effectively. When those activities I mentioned are used in the classroom, it is usually the first time that students see and analyse hand-translated texts and compare them to the source text, side by side. This is a unique opportunity for the teacher to introduce the professional aspect of things behind the translation and discuss the requirements and challenges that are part of the translation area.

Don’t fear translation – Embrace it!

So while some language teachers still fear the use of translation in their lessons, in my experience, there are several benefits to incorporating translation into advanced adult classes. A well-planned activity using translation can deepen the understanding of languages, promoting appreciation of different opinions and interpretations, and educating students about the profession of a translator.