What Despacito Means for Language Translation

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We often underestimate the power of media, but in truth, it can change the whole world. If English words are spoken in every other household around the globe today, some credit for it goes to movies, TV shows, and sports commentary. People who consume different forms of media become interested in learning about foreign cultures. If someone’s favorite film is Parasite, they would be interested in learning about Korea and its culture. But since English is the most prominent vernacular in the media, it ended up becoming the most popular tongue around the world. However, this isn’t a position that can’t be taken away from it.


If you haven’t heard the song Despacito at least once, you are probably living under a rock. Although the song was released in 2017, its popularity has not decreased. But in the summer of 2017, it was playing everywhere in the US. If you have listened to the song, then you must know already that it is in Spanish. After macarena, it was the first Spanish song to become so popular in the US. There are many reasons for its popularity, but the number one is that it is very catchy. Even if you don’t know Spanish, you would want to sing along each time it plays.

What Despacito Means for Language Translation?

Whenever something becomes famous worldwide, it ends up affecting the lives of people everywhere. The popularity of Despacito brought many changes in different walks of life. The word itself means ‘slowly,’ but the question is, what the song means for language translation? Is it going to change the translation industry completely? Will it affect the English-Spanish language services? You are about to find out the answer to these questions:

Language Translation
Importance of Human Translation

Since many people checked the automated translation of the song to figure out its meaning, they know now how unreliable machines can be when it comes to linguistic problems. Despacito has reminded people that only a human expert can provide them with a hundred percent accurate results. Every time they tried to let technology handle linguistic problems, it resulted in chaos. So, it is better to let humans handle the job because they can understand the cultural aspects. A human expert will know that Despacito is a song and will translate it accordingly, but a machine can’t do that.

  • Interest in Language:

With the release of Despacito, many started wondering why they never paid attention in Spanish class, while others began revising their old lessons. The song increased people’s interest in the vernacular. It also led them to the language industry. Some of them might join the industry in the future after becoming fluent in Spanish.

There is a high chance that apps like Duolingo saw an increase in Spanish students after the release of Despacito. Many wish to learn the language so they can listen to the song without having to look up its meaning every time.

  • Greater Need for Language Translation:

The reason why Despacito became famous in the US despite being in Spanish is the ever-growing Hispanic population in the country. Currently, over 40 million people in the US speak Spanish, and most of them do not know English very well. America is home to millions of immigrants. Most of those came to the US from a Latin American country. This is why Spanish has become so popular in the US. The number of its speakers in the US are expected to increase significantly by the year 2050. In that year, America will become the country with the greatest number of Spanish speakers.

All of that proves that the US is becoming more diverse day by day. The multilingual society is thriving in the country. But since English is the only language of the state, and the vernacular of the majority, this has created a problem for the Spanish speakers. Without a useful solution, this could create a divide between the population of the country. However, this is exactly why language translation exists. It is true that the need for linguistic assistance will increase in the future, but as more Hispanics come to the US, the translation industry will be able to find more experts.

Another reason behind the increased need for translation is the interest in the Spanish culture. People who don’t have the time to learn a new vernacular might still want to familiarize themselves with a different culture by reading books and other text about it. These people would need the assistance of linguistic experts to understand foreign language books. Despacito has made countless people fascinated with both the Spanish language and culture. Some have started researching on their own to learn more about Spain and its people. While others have turned to language experts to get the help they need in understanding the vernacular.

The fact that Despacito still shows up in memes and online videos is proof of its popularity. It won’t be erased from our memories anytime soon. And the effect it has had on people might never go away. It has inspired many people to start learning Spanish and become fluent in it so they can sing along the song. It will continue to affect cultures and vernaculars on the planet. But for now, it has given the translation industry a new purpose. They are handling Spanish-English problems now and helping people familiarize themselves with this foreign language.

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