There’s no doubt about it: podcasts continue to go from strength to strength, with over 464.7 million listeners now tuning in to listen to their favourite shows. Alpha Studios has helped a number of clients record and produce their series, and, in the tail end of 2022, we decided to launch our own.
As a company operating in the world of audiovisual localization, we are obsessed with language. We work with millions of words every day – translating, writing, captioning and so on. Words hold a unique sway over us as people, shaping our emotions, perceptions and beliefs. That’s the thinking behind our new show: ‘Just Say the Word’.
Every episode features a high profile special guest, who shares that one special word that best defines their values, beliefs and life experiences. Our team then take a look at the word in its cultural contexts, examining it through the lenses of fiction, film and music. We also dive deep to trace the origins of the word, and how it appears in other languages around the world.
We recently wrapped up our first season, when we had the opportunity to sit down with some of the leading names in law, comedy, journalism, drama and literature.
We kicked off the series with British attorney and founder of human rights organization Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith. He contemplates on his chosen word, language, and the way it has impacted his professional life, saying, “when you are trying to persuade people to do the right thing, you’ve got to know what language they listen in.”
Of course, while language is deeply imprinted onto our arts and culture, the word itself has also been explored thoroughly by poets, writers, musicians and philosophers for centuries. We dive in to find out more about how the term has evolved over the years.
In our second episode, novelist Gytha Lodge reflects on the word ‘blood’: an incredibly apt choice for a crime writer. As Gytha herself says though, “Crime and everything that goes with it is much more than gore and about blood and about death and murder. Crime is about the people it affects and about all the interrelationships that go with it. What is usually important in every crime, and every case are the family of the victims and that really is more what blood means to me than the slightly more gory, thriller-y element of it.”
Blood, as a symbol, is one of the most powerful and complex, used simultaneously in art to represent love, rage and war for centuries. Our songs, theatre, and films are all stained with the concept of blood, and in our deep dive into the word, we draw inspiration from a variety of sources to fully underline its power.
In episode three, the multilingual voice artist and actor Alexander Devrient shares his views on the word ‘multicultural’. He shares his story of how multiculturalism can sometimes bring with it a so-called ‘quest for identity’.
He continues on the shifting views of multiculturalism: “I understand why people would want to preserve their homes, and their cocoon of comfort but you miss out on a lot. It’s ok, I understand if you love who you are, where you are from and who your people are, that’s ok. I think the danger is when that protectionism turns into pointing fingers, potential racism, and just a sense of entitlement and almost a sense of aggression towards the other.”
Notable English actor James Fox joins us for our fourth episode, where he ponders on the word “translation” and states, “we actors are in some ways translators”.
He adds: “Broadly speaking, our whole culture and background depends on the translation of works from different languages into our own,” and explains that “translation or interpretation is about meaning, it’s about communication, it’s about dialogue.”
While James Fox reveals the role that translation has played in his personal and professional life, we look at how poor translation has led to failed marketing campaigns and embarrassing political interviews, and also examine some fascinating books, plays and films.
In episode five, broadcast journalist and hypnotherapist Krassimira Hendry muses about the word ‘resilience’. She asserts, “You can fluctuate between being resilient and not. In human psychology, you are not that ironman or ironwoman that would survive any crisis. We are allowed not to be ok. That great saying: “It’s ok not to be ok”, that shows resilience as well. “
Krassimira shares how important resilience can be when reporting on wars or dealing with grieving patients.
In the final episode of season one, stand-up comedian Vlad Illich mulls over his chosen word, “menopause” and reveals how it has shaped his career. We laugh about some of his hysterically funny sketches and reflect together on the importance of having humour. As Vlad remarks, “Humour is one of the windows to the soul. Every human being has a natural ability for storytelling. Humour is absolutely universal. I think some cultures are a bit more lively than other cultures and you can hear that in the language as well.”
Prompted by Vlad’s word “menopause” we travel back in time, exploring the way that the menopause was “cured” centuries ago. Back in the present day, we look at how different cultures view the menopause.
Season 2 of our exclusive podcast series Just say the word has arrived! In episode 01, we chat to the founder of Alpha CRC, our very own Isabelle Weiss, who has 40 years of professional experience translating millions of words from English into French and German.
As a left-handed person herself, she tells us her extraordinary story of resilience and entrepreneurship. While exploring the different connotations of the word “left-handed”, Paul and Isabelle touch on hot topics like “Is there a danger that comes with giving people labels?” and “How removing categories such as male and female poses challenges for translators”.
Following the interview, our hosts Yuliya Stancheva and Sonia Arroyo investigate the etymological roots of the word “left-handed” while revealing interesting associations in their native languages- Bulgarian and Spanish.
In episode 2, Tamara Rogers, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Haleon, and Paul discuss the word “humanity”, the advances of AI and the role of marketing in improving the quality of life. They ask hot questions like: Do people need to take personal responsibility for their own humanity? And how do we build humanity from the bottom up or from the heart out?
Following the interview, Joanna Shiokka reveals how the concept of humanity relates to her native Greek language and culture, while Yuliya reflects on the existential question: “What does it mean to be human?” and draws inspiration from philosophers, famous songs, movies and books that explore the best and the worst of humanity.
In episode 03, Paul Mangell and James Broad, a Global Director for The Navigators, discuss the challenges that come with “identity”- from having a false identity or no identity to demonstrating it regardless of the consequences.
Following their conversation, Alpha Studios’ sound engineer, Gerard Rodriguez, reveals where the word “identity” comes from and what role it plays in his native Spanish culture.
Later, our producer Yuliya Stancheva hunts for exciting movies, books and songs’ titles that play with the word “identity” and make us ponder over questions such as who we are as individuals, is identity something we are born with and how do we cultivate it.
In episode 04, we discuss the word “Truth” with Ashley Brown, who produces science and history reference books for Windmill books.
Paul and Ashely dive into sensitive topics such as terrorism, politics, religion and history and reflect on compelling questions like: “Are there universal truths which are passed on from generation to generation?“ and “Can you manipulate the truth for what you consider to be a philosophical good?”
Later, Mette Tingey reveals the etymological roots of the word “truth”, while our producer Yuliya Stancheva highlights examples of the way “truth” has puzzled the minds of artists, writers and musicians throughout the years.
In episode 05, we reflect on the word “History” with Historian Timothy Hedger.
Why do we need History and what can we learn from it? Is there more to History then just the sole information about past events? What is the difference between a history and a myth or legend? Paul and Tim look for the answers to these and many more intriguing questions.
Following the interview, our guest Language Detective Ethan Barret tells us all about the origin of the word “history” while our producer Yuliya Stancheva takes us on an exciting journey in the world of arts and culture, revealing how “history” is imprinted in famous books, movies and song titles.
You can find the podcast on our website at https://alphacrc.com/podcast/.
It’s also available on all major podcast platforms:
If you’re also thinking about getting into the world of podcasts, our experienced teams are ready to help. From conception to production and post-production, our teams are able to guide and assist.