Getting the message of COVID-19 across


The way in which information is transmitted can have a great impact on society, economy, and politics.

In times of a pandemic disease like COVID-19, the media is flooded with information coming in from different sources and places, and in different languages. How this sensitive information is translated can lead to panic, social stigma or health issues.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also conscious about the effects of communication for preparedness and response to the coronavirus disease. So much so that they provide a great variety of material on this matter, from a general communication guide to specific workplace communication guides. (

The virus is an “enemy” that does not come alone, its two henchmen are fear and discrimination.

Fear is as contagious as the virus, it only takes one word to topple the tile and see the domino effect. A clear example is the shortage of toilet paper in some countries. People understood a strict quarantine was going to be implemented leading to a huge demand for toilet paper.

A pandemic disease can also cause social stigma and discriminatory behavior against people who are perceived to be related to the disease. The terms chosen to describe the outbreak, its origins, and prevention measures can reinforce or reduce the stigma. The WHO advises using “acquiring” or “contract” instead of “infect” or “transmit” because this second group of terms implies blame. The socially stigmatized may hide their symptoms and avoid seeking health care immediately.

Then, we have the virus itself. Precision is essential in translating health content related to COVID-19. Any irregularity can destroy a whole country’s prevention and response plan. Let’s take for example a pamphlet that says “People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention”. If this sentence were translated into Spanish as Las personas que tengan fiebre, tos o dificultad para respirar deben buscar atención médica (People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention), healthcare facilities would be packed with false and actual COVID-19 cases, resulting in the overwhelming of the health system. Precise information allows people to act wisely.

As the WHO says “People have the right to be informed about and understand the health risks that they and their loved ones face”. As translators we can do their part in this world crisis by translating life-saving information accurately. For the first time in many years, we are all in this together.

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

Adaptation, the Goose of Golden Eggs

Miami has become one of the greatest financial hubs in the US, second to only New York banking center. Florida’s banking has flourished in the last years, but what is their goose of golden eggs? How have the financial services of the sunshine state thrived?

In a word, the answer is adaptation. This does not refer to natural selection, but to opening to new markets –the Hispanic.

According to the data from the US Census, about 18% of the U.S. population, which is approximately 58.9 million, corresponds to Hispanics. Miami’s financial institutions have seen the opportunity and adapted their services and products to reach Latin American consumers. The purchasing power of this growing population plays a key role in Miami’s economy; actually, Florida’s Latin households generate $6.7 billion in buying power.

As a response to the Latin population growth both at the Southern borders and in the whole country, most banking and financial institutions have adjusted their offer to the needs of Hispanic clients. The first step they took was to bring Spanish directly into their institutions by staffing with Spanish speaking employees, internationalizing and localizing their product offerings, and culturally adjusting them to these new communities.

When Spanish-speakers come into institutions like Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo or any other important financial institution in Florida, an assistant will greet them and ask them the reason of their visit. If the assistant knows they speak Spanish, he/she will immediately switch the language, which can evoke different emotions in clients, such as the following:

  • Feeling the institution cares about them.
  • Feeling safe in an environment that can be quite hostile.
  • Feeling assured that they will more easily understand the financial jargon.
  • Feeling confident enough to make questions.
  • Feeling at home.

Having a clear communication strategy is a key factor to succeed in business. Opening your market to new languages does not necessarily entail exporting products or services but adjusting to the new local market. It is of paramount importance that financial institutions generate trust and security to all their clients, including the Spanish speakers. A wise investment in translation is essential to achieve it. Baquero Translation is eager to help you reach Hispanic consumers by providing its top-notch translation services.


By: Andrea Chetti

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the first industrial revolution, we stopped using animals to use machines; then, we made mass production possible to later become digital and reduce production costs. Now, the fourth industrial revolution faces us with technological advances that merge physical, digital and biological worlds and promises to change the way we live, relate and work. Business models are disrupted and employment seems to be widely impacted with a huge job displacement: the rise of machines!!!

The fourth industrial revolution entails changes in different existential fields: ethics and limits of AI, new business-client relationships with digitalization, fusion of technologies and disciplines, inequality and the impact on social stability, etc. However, although we are going through the fourth industrial revolution already the fear of all humans has not changed, on the contrary, it has always been the same: losing our jobs. Actually, machines are rising to support human activities and help to cover our needs in a better way or even faster.

According to Alejandro Melamed -HR Consultant-, it is not about the humans Vs robots but about understanding what is it that we want from the robot and the human. Any repetitive action with little creativity is likely to become a commodity. However, thinking, creativity, innovation, added value, empathy and above all passion will never become commodities.

In today’s world where communications are fast and the amount of data is huge, translation needs to merge both concepts to adjust: automation and creativity. Just as the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk puts it, it is no longer possible to think in monovalent or bivalent concepts: body-soul, spirit-matter, subject-object, freedom-mechanism, machines-humans. At BT we embrace technology to put our most human part on every translation!

By: Juan A. Baquero