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I was recently translating the "What does "beta" mean?" page in response to this meta question (improvements to my translation are encouraged!), and came across the following phrase:

What’s the “elevator pitch” for our site?

What's the best, most idiomatic way to translate the concept of a short, one-sentence description of something? For the moment, I simply used Google Translate's literal suggestion of:

¿Cuál es el "discurso del ascensor" para nuestro sitio?

But I'm not convinced that Google understands the real meaning here, or that this is a proper translation.

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  • A mí tampoco me convence "discurso del ascensor". "elevator pitch" podría ser entendido por los emprendedores de negocios que es el ámbito del cual proviene el término, pero no estoy seguro que lo sea por los usuarios de este sitio. Por cierto, ¿no sería mejor que esta pregunta se incluyera en META?
    – Rubén
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:33
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I don't like "discurso del ascensor" either, but it is actually what it is used (one example). I bet that the anglicism "elevator pitch" is used more often, instead of the translation.

There is no expression to convey the same in Spanish, meaning "really brief and to-the-point description of something, like if you met important in the elevator and you had only the 30 seconds it takes to get to their floor to shell your product or idea", so a direct translation is forced (discurso del ascensor) or the anglicism elevator pitch is used.

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    I thought I'd test your theory that "elevator pitch" is more common, but neither "elevator pitch" nor "discurso del ascensor" has any hits in Google ngrams viewer for Spanish. :/
    – Flimzy
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:26
  • @Flimzy. Probably I'm completely wrong about that statement. The link I provided as an example uses the anglicism several times, more than the translated version, but I just provided it to show that "discurso de(l) ascensor" is kinda the accepted translation, in spite of sounding a little bit odd. I don't think that just one article might be representative. I bet that is so, but I would not bet money... ;-)
    – Diego
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:38
  • I think it's a reasonable guess. I was just hoping to find some evidence to prove you right... but Google thwarted my efforts!
    – Flimzy
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:40
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Discurso refers more to a speech rather than a presentation. An elevator pitch doesn't necessarily has to be a one-sentence description, as long as it stays short(up to 2 minutes for example), it works. I believe that,

presentación de ascensor/elevador

would be better than discurso del ascensor, since what you are aiming for with it is to present/offer something to a potential customer in business talking.

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Idioms have a strong cultural background so they should not be literally translated. Instead, the translator should use a similar idiom in Spanish, but also could be considered an adage or proverb.

In this case the context is a business setting where one find a pretty busy VIP, so you have less than two minutes to catch the VIP attention. One alternative could:


de forma breve y directa


The complete phrase could be:

De forma breve y directa, ¿cuál sería la razón de ser de nuestro sitio?

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    Pero, considerando la pregunta de Flimzy "What’s the “elevator pitch” for our site?", tú no dices "¿Cuál es el "discurso en menos tiempo que canta un gallo" para nuestro sitio? ni "¿Cuál es el "discurso mientras más pronto mejor" para nuestro sitio?"
    – Diego
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:20
  • @Diego: Justo caí en cuenta de los que comentas. Acabo de agregar una alternativa.
    – Rubén
    Sep 3 '15 at 2:22

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