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English

WordReference translates "slow down" as disminuir la velocidad or desacelerar. But those sound pretty precise or technical to me. How would you translate "Slow down!" in other, more informal contexts like:

  • You are driving with a friend who is speeding and driving recklessly and you want him to stop.
  • A friend is excitedly describing something to you and is talking too fast to understand.

Surely you don't say ¡Disminuye la velocidad!, do you?


Español

WordReference traduce "slow down" como "disminuir la velocidad" o "desacelerar". Pero me suenan bastante precisos o técnicos. Cómo traduciríais "Slow down!" en otros contextos más informales como:

  • Vas en el coche/auto/carro con un amigo que va a excesiva velocidad y conduciendo imprudentemente y quieres que lo deje.
  • Un amigo está animado/exitado describiéndote algo y está hablando demasiado rápido para entenderle.

Seguro que no decís ¡Disminuye la velocidad!, ¿o sí?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Surely not, or yes... ;) You can say that informally, but if you don't want to offend your friend :P

When driving:

  • ¡Frena! (Although it means "brake", it does not mean to completely stop, but slow down)
  • ¡No vayas tan rápido/deprisa! (This is really used instead of saying "slow down". Not going so fast means that the driver has to slow down).
  • ¡Más despacio!

Telling a friend to chill out:

  • ¡Más despacio!
  • ¡No vayas tan rápido/deprisa!
  • ¡Frena! (As Laura says. Actually, you can use any of the ones for driving).
  • ¡Pisa el freno, Madaleno! (In Spain)

These are the ones I can think of now.

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1  
Frena! can also be used in the second example (lo de .. magdaleno me ha encantado :D) –  Laura May 8 '12 at 8:07
2  
To "chill out," I often hear simply "tranquilo!" –  Flimzy May 8 '12 at 18:19
1  
@Flimzy That one’s often just ¡Tranqui, tranqui! for cool it, calm down, take it easy, settle down, don’t worry be happy, like don’t have a cow man. It’s actually short for tranquilízate (< tranquilizarse), which is too darn long to say. This might be more of an Madrileñan thing, or a Northern Spanish thing, or a Spain-Spanish thing, or even an Iberian thing, than one heard throughout Greater Hispanophonia; maybe so maybe not, but I don’t have enough datapoints to say. Certainly it’s itself perfectly normal in the streets of Madrid, and I think probably also of Barcelona and Sevilla. –  tchrist May 9 '12 at 14:26
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When telling a friend to slow down:

¡Baja las revoluciones!

¡Cálmate un poco!

When driving:

¡Anda/Conduce más lento!

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As JoulSauron already pointed out, "frena" is quite common. It could mean "slow down" as well as "stop". So it might be a bit ambiguous without context. "Frena un poco" could be used too. Note that by adding "un poco", "frena" could only mean "slow down" in this case.

"Bajá/baja un poco (la velocidad)" is also common informally (at least here in Argentina). "La velocidad" is implied but often not said. In the same vein, "aflojá/afloja un poco (con el acelerador)" has the same general meaning but is a bit more informal.

Another option that comes to mind (again this might be a local thing) is "bajá/baja un cambio" (drop down a gear, if that makes sense; I'm not sure if this is a good translation). Although, thinking about it, I've always heard (and used) this expression figuratively, rather than in its literal sense.

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If I were Argentinian, I'd say "Che, ¡relájate!" in both situations.

If Spaniard, "No tan deprisa, ¡porfa!" in the car, and "¡Porfi!, háblame menos rápido." when chatting. (Porfi/Porfa = Por favor)

All the interjections add diplomacy and friendship to the phrase.
The better if joined by a hand gesture indicating slow down.

But, as I am a Brazilian, I just say Tranki, my friend, in Spanglish, followed by a :)

[update]
As tchrist points out, "tranqui" is quite extended in Spain. I lived in Andaluzia, Valencia and Asturias and used it. Also in Brasil and Venezuela.
And certainly, I'm still to find any person from a latin language background (br, pt, es, fr, it, cat) that doesn't understands it. Even if they didn't use the word, it has very powerful memetizing properties.
Recommended!

but don't do it with your fiance`s father

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Per my comment above, it makes perfect sense to say tranqui in Spain, too. –  tchrist May 14 '12 at 3:27
    
@tchrist, duly noted, compai –  brasofilo May 14 '12 at 11:30
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