Surviving in Silence

People, in general, may think that the most serious hazard that a translator can face is a backache or a stress crisis. However, those who translate and interpret can be exposed to greater threats. You may be surprised by the many working contexts that can put the linguist’s health, life, and freedom at risk.
Translation and interpreting are two of the most ancient professions. Both were used since people started to move from one region to another to communicate with the new civilizations either peacefully or by force. Translators and interpreters were always there: right in between. A lot has changed since ancient times; however, we are still in the same awkward position, where there is a conflict of interests and a conflict of cultures.

War zones are a clearly dangerous working setting. Foreign journalists and soldiers, as well as peacemakers and aid organizations, need local interpreters in order to operate. These translators are of paramount importance in the peace process of their countries, but they can be threatened, hurt or killed by extremist groups. For example, in 2010 in Afghanistan, six interpreters working for NATO were kidnapped and beheaded by the Taliban. (See:

To translate content that might be related to supporting a political party or to disapproving the government in power can also make the translator’s wellbeing, life or freedom vulnerable. For instance, in 2009, an Uyghur translator was sentenced to 11 years in prison for translating news that the Chinese government viewed as inciting separatism of state.

In the last years, there have been different social and legal projects to protect translators and interpreters who work in dangerous environments. Some of these actions have been promoted by Red T, a non-profit organization that fights for translators and interpreters’ welfare. Together with five major international language associations (AIIC, FIT, IAPTI, CLI, and WASLI), Red T has been advocating for a UN resolution that will grant translators and interpreters specific protection under international law, and that the crimes committed to them will be prosecuted. (Support the Red T initiative:

After all the attempts of keeping down the voice of translators and interpreters by different threats, they have survived in the silence.  These linguists mediate between cultures, unbiased to facilitate communication, and ultimately achieve peace.

By: Andrea Chetti

Jingle Bells around the World

Home Alone is being broadcasted on TV, and this means that two of the most expected celebrations are near: Christmas and New Year. Even though these are international festivities, there are many differences depending on where they are celebrated.

In Argentina, for both Christmas and New Year, the starring actor is asado (barbecue). Usually, there is a whole preparation that starts several hours before the night of 24th or 31st. The designated cook may start the fire at 6 in the afternoon, while dinner is served at 10 pm. Thanks to all these hours, a knife and fork aren’t almost needed to eat the meat –it’s really tender. When it’s 12 o`clock, a great display of fireworks can be seen from many houses. People exchange presents and make toasts.

A challenge for Santa in Argentina: “Papá Noel” wears the same winter clothing as in the US and UK, even though, it’s summer and very hot here at Christmas time, about 34º C (93º F)!!!

New Year is an exciting time, but especially for Argentine underwear stores since there is a tradition of wearing pink underpants on the night of the 31st in order to have good luck in the year to come. As the years pass, this tradition is losing popularity.

At the North of the continent, it seems that there is not much to tell about US Christmas and New Year as they are widely known around the world: decoration, Christmas cards, Santa Claus, among other popular elements.

However, you may not have heard about the Christmas pickle. Some people use a pickle to decorate their Christmas trees. This custom involves hiding an ornamental pickle in the tree, and the one who finds it gets a reward.

Watching a peach drop: this does not refer to another version of how the law of gravity was created. In Atlanta, citizens gather to see how a giant peach drops while they countdown for the New Year. The peach is the State of Atlanta’s symbol.

In the UK, they celebrate the Boxing Day. On the 26th of December, they go to a boxing ring and… Just kidding. It is not about fighting, but boxes. It is the day when boxes, which were collected for the poor, are opened so that the content can be distributed to them.

For New Year, there is a tradition in England which implies that the first guest to go through the front door should be a young, dark-headed male bearing gifts such as bread (to be full), salt (to be wealthy) and coal (to stay warm).

There are plenty of Christmas and New Year’s customs that may be surprising as they are different from one’s culture. Whatever festivity you celebrate, BT wishes you to have a joyful time with your beloved ones and a “prosperous” New Year.


By: Andrea Chetti

Transcreating for Marketing

We all need Marketing. Marketing activities are one of the main revenue generators for companies, no matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or an SME.

A good marketing campaign does not come from a genie lamp, it needs to:

  • Generate awareness
  • Generate interest
  • Guide prospects towards your product
  • Make you the best option for the client
  • Generate the intent to buy from you
  • Assess the value of your service
  • Close sales

In order to achieve the best marketing campaign, most companies invest between 4 and 8% of their gross revenue in activities like website, blog, advertising, branding, events, etc. However, very few realize the value translation has in their marketing campaigns. Given the complexity of translating marketing material, the term TRANSCREATION was coined for this field of specialty.

In marketing campaigns, a company will invest a considerable amount of money to think and rethink about the way to express their message so as to make people believe in it, to make the product appealing, to intrigue the client, to seduce them and convince them to buy. When a company decides to translate this message for a new market into a new language and culture, they won’t rub the lamp to summon a Genie, they need translators who translate and create (transcreate) a new text that effectively adjusts to the new culture.

Let’s take the example of a few slogans. How much could it cost to translate 5 to 8 words of a slogan? Well, that will depend on how much the company invested in the campaign to create it! Let’s look at the difference between translation and transcreation:


English Translation Official Transcreated Slogan in Spanish
I’m lovin´ it Amo esto Me encanta

In this slogan, we can see the difference between a translation that is nothing but correct and a transcreation, which in addition to conveying the correct meaning creates in the audience the same feeling of enjoying the one of the most famous hamburgers. The translator conveys with this phrase just how a Spanish speaker would express and feel.

Another brand known for great marketing campaigns is Coca Cola. It has a great history of slogans, let’s take the last one:

English Translation Official Transcreated Slogan in Spanish (Argentina)
Taste the feeling Saborea el sentimiento

Prueba el sentiemiento
(by Google)

Sentí el sabor

The transcreation of their slogan is really good! The translation falls short in appealing to consumer’s experience of joy when drinking the soda, while the transcreated slogan makes the slogan shorter (4 syllables vs 9 syllables) which makes it more effective, creates a greater impact, and hooks in consumers’ minds.

Just like a company invests huge amounts of money in a whole team of creative minds to design an effective and appealing campaign, it is essential to understand that translation and transcreation are part of this investment; otherwise a marketing campaign may not work just as expected in a different culture. By hiring culturally sensitive and professional transcreators like the ones we have at Baquero Translations, you will end up in savings costs and peaking sales. We can grant you 3 wishes: quality, price, and professionalism.

By: Juan Andrés Baquero

Law – A Translator’s Wonderland

Jumping into the rabbit hole of legal texts can make translators feel like Alice in Wonderland.

Court decisions, Sales Agreements, Divorce Decrees, Affidavits, Promissory Notes, Lease Agreements, M&As, they all are inherently tricky and sometimes hard to understand even for attorneys. This is mainly due to legal terms, intertwined structures and what is known as legalese.

Legalese is like the Red Queen in the land of law, being one of the major obstacles for intelligibility. Its soldiers are verbosity, archaic words, and madly long and complex sentences.

Some examples of these soldiers are the following:

Verbosity: “Client may terminate the Agreement if control of Service Provider is to be transferred (wh

ether directly or indirectly, or in a single transaction or series of related transactions), or all or substantially all of the assets or business of Service Provider are to be acquired by any organization.…” This sentence can actually be expressed in a simpler way “Client may terminate the Agreement if Material change to ownership of Service Provider is imminent.”

Archaisms/Latinisms: “the party meets its burden of making a prima facie case that a contract existed” – instead of using “on a general/preliminary basis”.

Long sentences:Mary Dowe, who is hereinafter referred as the “Client”, needed a Spanish translation, which is hereinafter referred to as the “Service”, and wrote to Baquero Translations, which is hereinafter referred to as the “Translation Provider”, and the Translation Provider told the Client that they will fulfill the Service by the expiration of one (1) day, provided that (i) the agreed payment is carried out by the Client, and if the Client needed DTP services, which is hereinafter referred as “Design Services”, the Translation Provider commit itself to complete fulfillment of the Design Services by the expiration of the same duration, which is one (1) day, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the Translation Provider to complete the satisfaction of the Client.” – Its plain form would be “Mary Dowe needed a Spanish translation and wrote to Baquero Translations. BT told her that they will translate it and have it for the next day in exchange of the agreed payment. If she needed DTP services, they could provide it within the same day”

Even though many people are now trying to overthrow this Red queen, legal jargon is in the realm of law texts. Its reign started many centuries ago; thus, law reference material—the majority being old— is populated with legalese. Furthermore, universities use these documents, which made them a great input of legalese to the “lawyers-to-be” during the whole course of studies.

As with most texts, a professional translator should first drink the potion to plunge into this new world and unveil the meaning and intention behind each of these intricate legal statements. They need to convert all the “above mentioned” into plain language; and then, create a new text in the target language being as accurate, as unambiguous, or as intentionally vague as the original author intended it to be, with exactly the same verbosity and solemn style as the original. This is a mad tea party, from which only trained and experienced translators can return.

Having extensive experience in legal translations and subject matter expert translators, editors, and reviewers, BT’s team is as mad as a hatter and as brave as Alice to help you overcome this challenge.

By: Andrea Chetti