Badoo: poetry in subtitles


About the client

VSI recently teamed up with dating platform Badoo as part of an advertising campaign starring filmmaker, actor, model and activist River Gallo.

Badoo is one of the most popular and widely used dating sites worldwide, available in 51 different languages.

The project



Badoo tasked VSI with the creation of Spanish subtitles for their English promotional video, which centred around intersex people searching for and finding love online.

The first half features River narrating an original poem in English, as the camera artfully cuts between River’s rooftop dance sequence and visual metaphors signifying relationships. This leads to an interview segment, where they then discuss what it means to date as an intersex person.

In this segment of the video, River relates their personal experiences of online dating. They confess that, at first, they chose not to disclose being intersex for fear of being judged, but after finally deciding to present themselves as intersex, they received a flurry of messages and interest from those also seeking a relationship.

In the video, River delivers the poignant lines:

I chose to be bold.
I chose to be free.
I chose to date honestly.

Our approach

The focus of our brief was to ensure that the performative nature of the poem would be reflected in the Spanish translation. Recognising this unique requirement, we adapted our subtitling workflow to include transcreation. This allowed us to offer multiple creative options, even within the challenge of adhering to the technical requirements of subtitling.

River’s candid interview was also treated as a specialised translation. Their personal struggles and uplifting moments while dating were conveyed with sensitivity by VSI’s linguists, ensuring that we carried over not only the meaning behind the interview, but River’s own nuanced way of describing their experience.


"Working with VSI on this multilingual project was a fantastic experience. They provided high quality work which helped Badoo to share the "A Letter From" Pride series to a wider audience due to the fact we had English and Spanish subtitled versions of the film."

– Rita Noronha Santos, Creative Producer, Badoo.

It was really enjoyable to assist Badoo in this project, as River’s journey of acceptance is one that many people can relate to. Their parting words in the English audio is a message that we all could benefit from being reminded of from time to time: “All you can do is be the best version of yourself.”