Text Messaging: Lost in Translation?

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Video Transcript

Accessibility Statement:

This video is an animated presentation with background music that does not add to the context or experience of the content.

In it, two teens are having a text message conversation on a smartphone screed; the teens are not seen, the focus is on the phone’s screen. They’re texting in acronyms and slang – some real, some created to demonstrate the rapidly changing language teens often use. Off to the side of the screen, as the teen texts, “parent translations” of each text message are shown.

Teen A, the first teen, types a message that reads “RU GNG 2 RGRS PT?” The parent translation reads, “Are you going to Roger’s party?”

Teen B, the second teen, replies with a message that reads “RSUR. PToTY!” The parent translation is, “Of course. It’s going to be the party of the year!”

Teen A’s next message reads, “Do YR CD9 KNO?” The parent translation is, “Do your parents know?”

Teen B replies, “KPC.” The parent translation is, “Keeping parents clueless.”

Teen A’s message reads, “BYOB & Chris MITE BRNG X or MJ. R U IN?” For parents, the translation is “It’s ‘bring your own beverage,; and Chris might bring some ecstasy or marijuana. Are you in?”

Teen B replies, “MB.” The parent translation is, “Maybe.”

Teen A’s next message says, “Come on! 420 w us! IGHT FGD.” The translation for parents is “Come on! Smoke some marijuana with us! I got high tonight and feel good.”

Teen B replies, “WILL THK BTT. Txt ADR.” For parents, this is translated as, “I’ll think about it. Text me the address.”

Teen A’s next message is, “Brng UR DOC.” For parents, the translation is, “Bring your drug of choice.”

Teen B replies, “Which 1? XD.” The translation for parents is, “Which one? Laughing out loud.”

The next message seen from Teen A is, “<3 L?^ @ ML.” For parents, this is translated as “Love you. Let’s hook up at the mall.”

The conversation then speeds up as it goes along and, the texts quickly become a random jumble of letters and symbols. Suddenly the conversation stops and the screen shows a final text message and translation: “LIT?” or “Lost in Translation?”

This is followed by the closing message and call to action: “Learn your kid’s language.” Finally, the Get Smart About Drugs logo and web address is shown.

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