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Today I heard Under Pressure by Queen on the radio. After the song, the DJ announced the song as Alta Presión. That sounds more to me like "High Pressure" than "Under Pressure." I would have translated "Under Pressure" as something more like Bajo Presión.

Are my translation skills really that bad? Or is Alta Presión an idiomatic expression that translates more closely to Under Pressure?

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Related trivia: Presionando is the name of Fobia's cover of Under Pressure on the album Tributo a Queen - Los Grandes del Rock en Español. – Jaime Soto Dec 9 '11 at 14:21
up vote 4 down vote accepted

No no, your translation skills are really good!! But there is a nuance here that I presume is difficult to get.

The literal translation of Under Pressure is

Bajo Presión

Now, in spanish Bajo Presión inherently means that there is high pressure being applied, or else you wouldn't be Under Pressure.

So the DJ figured to translate it as Alta Presión since that is the real source of being Under Pressure.

That is my reasoning.


As per comments:

If you were speaking of people, or a situation being "under pressure," how would you describe that in Spanish?

Well in that kind of situation the most natural to say would be Bajo presión or, this will probably sound counter-intuitive but you can also say con mucha presión with this one it is obvious that you are under pressure. For instance if you say Estoy con mucha presión en mi trabajo it is obvious you are under pressure. (Of course depends on context it can also mean blood pressure). But you wouldn't say alta presión, if you do I would relate it more to blood pressure, (e.g. when you say "Estoy con alta presión").

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If you were speaking of people, or a situation being "under pressure," how would you describe that in Spanish? – Flimzy Dec 9 '11 at 10:49
@Flimzy: Made an edit to complete the answer. – Joze Dec 9 '11 at 10:53
Thanks... I think you've convinced me that I'm not insane, and that the DJ probably just did a poor translation. – Flimzy Dec 9 '11 at 10:59

Bajo presión, definitely. You could also say presionado.

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