Verizon AOL deal: A crowdsourced English translation of the CEOs' statements.

Do You Speak CEO? Help Slate Translate the Verizon/AOL Memo Into English.

Do You Speak CEO? Help Slate Translate the Verizon/AOL Memo Into English.

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 12 2015 6:17 PM

A Crowdsourced Attempt to Translate the Verizon/AOL Announcement to English

Lowell McAdam
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is fluent in corporatese.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, two of the great tech CEOs of our time came together to announce a deal that both ignited and perplexed the business and technology worlds: Verizon is buying AOL for $4.4 billion.

In the wake of the announcement, the question that alighted on everyone’s mind was: “Why?” As in: Why would Verizon pay $4.4 billion for AOL? And: Why does AOL still exist?


Fortunately, it’s a question that the companies’ respective CEOs addressed in some detail in an official joint statement Tuesday morning. However, due to a regrettable clerical mistake, the statements by Verizon’s Lowell McAdam and AOL’s Tim Armstrong were published in an obscure dialect called Corporatese, spoken almost exclusively by C-level executives and VPs of corporate communications. To the average English speaker, it is functionally unintelligible.

Verizon AOL word cloud
Who's down with OTT?

Illustration by Will Oremus via

To remedy this, we at Slate have taken on the Lutherian task of translating this profound document into a form that the masses can comprehend.

Since Google Translate and other popular translation engines do not yet support Corporatese, this had to be done entirely by hand, a task too imposing for your humble correspondent to undertake alone. Instead, we sought help by posting the document on and inviting scholars from around the Internet to join us in the hard work of untangling McAdam and Armstrong’s prose.

The work is not yet finished—indeed, it may never be—but already some striking progress has been made. We welcome you to join us in this noble endeavor by logging into Genius to edit the document directly. Or, if you prefer, you can offer your insights in the comments below.

Previously in Slate:

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