‘Yes!’ Finally in Spain we speak English

In a matter of hours, social networks have been filled with videos that demonstrate the unimaginable: we Spaniards know how to speak perfect English and, moreover, we have been doing so for decades. Through the use of artificial intelligence, various applications that have become popular in recent times translate voices from one language to another with just the click of a button.

It’s opened the season and a ton of jokes and memes, excerpts from political speeches or iconic scenes from film and television translated into English are already pouring in. This is the most common language but there are many more alternatives: from Arabic to Japanese, including Vietnamese, Georgian or Spanish co-official languages, such as Galician or Catalan.

There has been so much buzz that these applications have collapsed due to the number of users wanting to try the service. Although artificial intelligence has been one of the main topics of conversation in recent months – wondering what future this technology holds for us – this time a sense of humor has taken over.

But it’s not all a joke. We will have to wait for some time to assess its implications for unions like voice actors and announcers or its fallout in the legislative and artistic spheres. Experts urge regulation of these types of devices and demand transparency, as questions increasingly arise: Is the tone of our voice ours? Can ‘sound rights’ be claimed? What will happen to our personal data?

Meanwhile, here we gather some representatives of the most traditional Spain, now with ‘British’ accents.


The absolute king of the gas station cassette, teller of the most original jokes of the 20th century in Spain, will surely be, for many, an inexhaustible source of improvement in English. It’s more likely that we’ll soon get bored, but we can dream: why wouldn’t someone from Southampton explore this vast amount of material and give a Barcelona comedian a second life to Vijay?

The 2018 documentary about his figure told us about a turbulent man who was sometimes undesirable, but in any case a writer with a unique style and provider of thousands of good times. Of course, still never in English, twenty years after his death. We can remind them of their own joke: “Do you speak English?” “Deev… Okay, if it’s small and let’s…”


The most famous and favorite taxi driver in Spain was named Jose Luis Cantero, but with automatic translation he almost looks like the Paul Simon of Madrid style. In the video he explains the origins of the song and the concept of Mnanga, but we don’t know if they are ready beyond our limits to understand the deeper meaning of the word, with or without translation.

In this case we can also see the difficulties of AI when several voices are mixed and noise appears – in a piece of entertainment -, even generating a moment of very unpleasant white noise. Some would say that Ferry survives and still resists these technologies.

Lola Flores

Lola Flores has also been reinterpreted by this technique, although to be fair her voice had already been synthesized in Spanish for that much-discussed advertisement of a famous beer brand. AI has an amazing ability to detect what makes people’s intonation unique, but there is still a lot left – the possibility to apply pronunciation, for example if we convert English to Spanish with Mano, Murcia or Extremadura accent. Want to go in. Are we headed toward a world where someone from Cordoba can listen to Brad Pitt as if he’s their neighbor?

Fernando Fernando Gomez

Being one of the most recognized and respected voices in the recent history of Spain, it is immediate for the average ear to recognize the rhythms of Fernando Fernán Gómez. Now in English, we see how the machine has difficulty matching beats precisely to allow for more accurate dubbing.

The Renaissance man, who was a member of a dynasty associated with the most vivid arts, left us a very diverse work in various subjects, most of which are highly recommended. That line of artists is still alive and producing, for example the recommended film about the house where he lived – with the brilliant Emma Cohen -, ‘Journey to Somewhere’, directed by his granddaughter in 2021.

It feels like we’re just scratching the surface of what new artificial intelligence will be able to do. We will certainly see a flood of similar applications that will raise countless questions. For now, we’re left with memes.

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