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When me and my creative partner Luka Bajs went to the Young creatives competition, we knew that the chances of us winning were small, really small. Not only were we to face the best young creatives working in Europe, but we were also both copywriters, so we knew our presentation would look like two copywriters did it in Keynote. We learned a few tricks in photoshop, but we were no designers. We had 48 hours to develop a solution for the problem and present it. It was an intense period, but sitting in a room full of talented peers and declared winners was my best advertising-related experience so far. We were young, we were stupid, and we won. 

Luka and I on the Eurobest stage, receiving our golden medals.  

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The presentation of the winning idea

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Our insight was that when people are in a foreign country or find themselves in a situation where they need to translate something, they don’t think about language school but turn to dictionaries and Google Translate. But these dictionaries offer only words and sentences. They don’t provide any further knowledge about the culture and life behind them.


We see Speak as a language school that gives you something extra; it gives you the life behind the words. And because Speak has more manpower than money, we take this to our advantage by starting The Human Dictionary Project.

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The idea is to transform the employees of Speak pro and the supporters of Speak social into real-life human dictionaries that people in need of foreign languages can use. 


The Human dictionaries introduce the benefits of knowing a foreign language and demonstrate the advantages of cultural diversity face-to-face. In addition, they present Speak by helping others and invite them to become a part of the Speak community to learn the new language and socialize with other cultures.

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The main visualization is a banner in the form of two speech bubbles that demonstrate which languages The human dictionary can be used. 

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We kick off the campaign on two fronts. On one side, we target people who have internet access and those who don’t. 


We use social to get attention from mass media and students. For example, we target newspapers, popular FB communities, university pages, etc. 


We start translating the posts, tweets, and comments of other users. Each translation is linked to the Speak online community.


On Twitter, we focus on essential media and socially aware journalists, translating their tweets, hoping that in this way, we can create some free media buzz. 

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We target those without Internet access using fliers and promo-stickers in their community. 

We try to get their trust and interests with helping them get trough the every day problems that the “non-Portuguese” speakers meet. 

They get the official post, bills, coupons, schedules… al sorts of things that can confuse them so we offer them The human dictionary hotline, where they can call and inquire about the information they need. 

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When they call, the person from Speak helps them out and invites them to the Language school and Speak cultural gatherings – an open kitchen and similar projects; of course, they encourage the person to bring along their friends and relatives. 

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Then we bring the Human dictionaries to life. So speak tutors and volunteers equipped with human dictionary cowers to represent the language they speak. 


We put them in bookstores and university libraries by the shelves where you usually find dictionaries. People can ask them to translate something and rent them for the day to help them with everyday linguistic problems.

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To get the attention of the Leiria population and migrant communities, we also perform low-budget stunts. 


Because music is the universal language, we put musicians on the street where they perform popular songs in the languages of the people living in them. For example, they start by performing them in English. Then, during the song, they translate them into Chinese or Russian, showing that cultural diversity is a good thing and that we people at Speak understand both languages and cultures. 

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The goal of the Human dictionary project is to show that cultural diversity is a good thing and that learning new languages can be both valuable and rewarding. 

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