There are reasons that make the Philippines an ideal place for global businesses. The long beaches keep tourism strong, the cheap laborers who are very fluent in English, the attractive tax policies. The nation has been trading partners with the biggest players such as the USA and China. Although most Filipinos can communicate well in English, it’s still an essential step to translate and localize all your material in order for your customers to feel related.

There’s a fact that Filipino is the official language of the Philippines, not Tagalog. But it doesn’t mean these two are much different. In short, Tagalog is the foundation of Filipino and Filipino is the evolution of Tagalog. It is estimated that about 80-90% of Filipinos is Tagalog and the rest is collected from Spanish, English,  and other local languages.

If you start thinking about choosing Filipino over Tagalog, think again! According to the locals, Tagalog is considered more profound and deep, so it is often used in formal documents, whereas Filipino appears to be a conversational language which is more natural and modern.

One strange but interesting thing about Tagalog is that in the form of Filipino, it is recognized by the state and as Tagalog, it performs as a regional language. These differences are not easy to spot for outsiders, and are likely to cause problems for foreign businesses. That’s why you need native translators, they are better equipped to translate a tongue and not non-native speakers who have not known a language since their birth.

3 problems when translating Tagalog

1. Gendered words

Although Tagalog has three genders, pronouns are not gender-assigned. The pronoun “siya” means “that person”, which totally excludes the meaning of gender unlike the “his”, “her” in English. 


In terms of nouns, there are only some borrowed from Spanish that are marked for gender. For instance, amigo (masculine) – amiga (feminine). 

2. The rise of ‘Taglish’

Taglish is the “child” of Tagalog and English language parents. English is one of the official languages in the Philippines and even more popular in the younger generations or urban citizens. Taglish is mainly communicated in the capital but it is easy for other Filipnos to understand.


Elderly people and teachers may dislike Taglish, but if your target audiences are from Gen Y and Z, Taglish can give your brand a more modern and trendy vibe. Still, it is not standardized, so it’s hard to really distinguish the “true Taglish”. In order to deliver a trendy yet natural translation, the professionals must always keep up with local social media trends.


This is an example:

Tagalog: Kumain tayo sa Wendy’s.

English: Let’s eat at Wendy’s.

Taglish: Eat tayo sa Wendy’s.

3. Untranslatable words

In Tagalog, there are a huge amount of words that don’t have a direct translation. These are a few examples:

“Basta”: the word means you don’t feel like being asked about the reasons since you may not know what they are or you just can’t tell clearly or simply because you don’t want the others to know.


“Naman”: if you want to say something important but are afraid to sound too bossy, then add “naman” to soften it. Another usage is adding it right after “when”, “why”, “what”, “where” to make your question more subtle.


Tagalog is not an easy language to translate, not to mention its fast-growing vocabulary and new usages. An in-depth understanding of local culture, as well as the language, is required for successful Tagalog translators.


If you need to translate into Tagalog, give us a call today!


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What makes VTLocalize different?

We are not the market dominance, we are not the pioneer of the industry, but we enjoy an amazing growth rate current years. For us, Localization and language services is all about you and your targeted audience experience, which are fast and seamless localization workflow, managed by strict industry standards, and flawless translation at the end of production process.


Question 1: Is it possible if I just ask for proofreading services?

Yes! We offer proofreading service solely for all types of documents in more than 50 different languages.

Question 2: How much will you charge for a translation project?

We take many factors into consideration:

  • The number of pages of the document to be translated, in which specified page is 300 words or 300 characters depending on the language.
  • Language pairs: Some pairs are less common, so the service charge might be a little bit higher
  • Service required: Translation Only (TO) or Translation and Editing (TE), or Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP)
  • Industry expertise: The complexity of the required domain affects service charge also

Please contact us for a detail quotation.

Question 3: Do you offer video subtitling and dubbing services?

Yes.! Not only supporting subtitling and dubbing, but we also provide the service of typing verbal documents such as audio or video files.

Question 4: Do you support Image Translation?

Yes! We support translating documents from all PNG, JPG image files, and all types of documents from all files: pdf, docx, pptx, xlsx, etc. Applying optical character recognition technology in combination with latest CAT Tools, the image translation process has never been that easy.

Question 5: Will the translation be presented in proper format and retain the original structure?

For purpose of printing or publishing you may need, we provide DTP and Layout restoration services for documents using varied tools such as Adobe Framemaker, Indesign, Illustrator, Autocad to Powerpoint, Excel, etc. Under our post translation recovery process, we provide a translation with “as is” layout and be ready for high quality printing or online publishing.

Question 6: How will I receive the translation?

It depends on the your need for soft or hard copy documents. For the soft copy, we will email it to you. As for the hard copy, we will send express delivery to the correct address provided by the customer.

Question 7: When notarizing translation, I want to get multiple copies, will there be additional costs?

According to current regulations, notarized translations are not allowed to be copied, all version must be originals. So when you need additional originals, the cost will increase.

Question 8: How long will it take for my documents to be translated?

It depends on the volume, content types, required services, and other project-specific factors. But above all, your required deadline is the most important and we will rely on that to adjust the translation process and management schedule in order to keep up with preset deadline without any compromise upon quality.

Question 9: Can I request an urgent translation?

Yes! We do offer urgent translation services. Depending on specialization or length of the document, we will adjust our production team accordingly.

Question 10: What are your payment terms and methods?

We accept ATM transfers, e-banking, cash, or online payment via VISA/ MASTERCARD card, international payment services such as PAYPAL, PAYONEER, SKRILL, VEEM, etc.


Talk with experts

  • While Tagalog is closely related, the national language of the Philippines is still Filipino and English
  • Filipino is considered as a modernized Tagalog and is mainly used by the younger generation.
  • The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) considers Tagalog as a Category II language