How best to render a tricky Spanish word or expression in English or one from some language in Spanish.

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3
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1answer
281 views

What does “tracatera” mean?

I've been collecting unusual Spanish words for years. I've been going through them to find any that are not in my dictionaries and found this one: tracatera f It's not in the DRAE, it's not in ...
9
votes
4answers
803 views

What Spanish term (or terms) work best to describe a glass jar as used for coffee, jam, etc?

A bit earlier in the chat room I mentioned that I needed to buy a new jar of coffee, but that I didn't know how to express that in Spanish. I want to know a good Spanish word for "jar" in the sense ...
10
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the most idiomatic translation of “no way!”

The phrase "no way" is similar to this question about the expression "you wish!" but is perhaps more of an expression of disbelief or rejection of what the other speaker says (short for There is no ...
8
votes
2answers
474 views

Best translation of “just wanted to”

In English, I often use "just wanted to" to soften the force of a question or statement: I just wanted to ask if it was okay with you. I just wanted to make sure you were coming to the meeting ...
7
votes
2answers
385 views

“Ser” and “Estar”: Spanish vs. Portuguese

The English verb to be typically translates to either ser or estar in both Spanish and Portuguese. Is there any instance in which the ser /estar distinction is different between Spanish and ...
4
votes
2answers
911 views

How to translate “It's for the best”?

How does the phrase "to be for the best" translate into Spanish? My first thought was "es para lo mejor", but as this is fairly idiomatic in English I figured the translation might not be that ...
6
votes
2answers
337 views

Is there a standard, most common, or most neutral Spanish term for “chat room”?

Just earlier I was about to mention to somebody in Spanish that I was in a Stack Exchange chat room and I realized I didn't know how to say it in Spanish. There's a bunch of words for "room": ...
2
votes
2answers
77 views

Rendering of “to fear”?

I once wrote an original poem in Spanish that includes the following: The question relates to the second sentence, which of two translations regarding "scare me" is "better" or correct? Or can they ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

What does “barrocanrolera” mean?

In the novel Los años con Laura Diaz by top Mexican author Carlos Fuentes there is a word, "barrocanrolera", which is not in the DRAE, the Gran diccionario Larousse, Wiktionary, or Google Translate. ...
8
votes
2answers
928 views

How to translate “make it count”

This evening a friend saw a poster in English that said something like: If you have only one chance at opportunity, make it count. She asked me what it meant. She knew enough English to make out ...
8
votes
2answers
169 views

How can I tell someone what I'm reading about?

I was reading a book, and someone asked me, "¿Qué estás leyendo?" I answered, "Estoy leyendo sobre ..." The person looked at me funny, but seemed to understand what I said. Looking back, it makes ...
6
votes
2answers
424 views

How should we translate “everything but the kitchen sink” or “the whole enchilada”?

There is an idiom that is popular (and old) in English that states "everything but the kitchen sink". This is a phrase that means "everything that could be conceived". Som examples: "I realized ...
3
votes
2answers
689 views

How to Translate “Sabor A Mi” into English

"Sabor a Mi" is the title of a song in Spanish. http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/los_panchos/sabor_a_mi.html Usually, sabor is a noun. But in this context, it seems to be used more like a verb. ...
-4
votes
1answer
695 views

In general, how well does Google Translate work? [closed]

I've had troubles with translations programs in the past. It seems that most take a word-for-word approach to translation. Obviously this falls short in most circumstances. It seems that Google's ...
7
votes
4answers
173 views

How to translate “open source” and “free software” and keep the distinction?

In English, when describing software you say "open source" to refer to software that's source code has been made available under a license. "Free software" refers to 'truly free' software that can be ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How to translate the idiomatic expressions “I wish!” and “You wish!”

What's the best way to say "I wish!" as in... A: I hear you're a good dancer. B: Ha! I wish! Or... A: Will you help me move this piano? B: Ha! You wish! What is the best way to ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

“It was great to see you”

What is the most natural translation of the English phrase "It was great to see you" (as in what you would say after seeing a friend you hadn't seen for a long time)?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How to translate 'to become?' (hacerse, ponerse, convertirse en, etc.)

I've heard several different words used for 'to become' in Spanish. Obviously sometimes there are specific verbs to use, like 'enfadarse' means to become angry, but often you need to use a verb that ...
15
votes
4answers
245 views

What's the correct way to say printed?

What's the preferred past participle of imprimir, imprimido or impreso? For example: Tengo imprimido el email que me enviaste. Tengo impreso el email que me enviaste.
4
votes
5answers
476 views

Translation of “should have”

What are the possible translations of "should have", as in "I should have told you earlier"? What are the differences between "debería (de)", "debí (de)", "debiera (de)", "debía (de)", etc.?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

“Dale pues” in Nicaraguan Spanish

In Nicaragua, the phrase "dale pues" is very frequently used. What does the phrase mean, and in what contexts can it be used?
9
votes
7answers
4k views

How should I translate “he is a pain in the ass”?

When referring to someone you don't like Americans (or English speakers) often use the sentence "he is a pain the ass", the literal translation to the Spanish is es un dolor en el trasero ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Translating “to be excited to…”

What is the best way to translate sentences like: I'm so excited to see you next week! He's really excited about graduation. We're excited to have you come visit for Christmas. Do emocionado and ...
7
votes
4answers
179 views

Is there a translation for “He thumbed his nose at them”?

In English if you "thumb your nose at someone" you are ignoring their authority.. Is there an expression in Spanish that conveys that same sort of disrespect? Edit: adding example. Many ...
9
votes
2answers
143 views

Unclear why to use “A vuestros hijos” instead of “vuestros hijos”

I have the following sentence in English Do your children like to read? Which translates to Spanish: ¿ A vuestros hijos les gusta leer? To me it is unclear, why I have to use "A vuestros" ...
2
votes
2answers
661 views

Best translation of “accountability”

In conversations about the hardest words or phrases to translate well from Spanish to English, the word "accountability" has repeatedly come up. I have seen the phrase "financial accountability" ...
14
votes
9answers
4k views

How to translate “I can't wait…”

A literal translation always falls flat, and confuses people (I've learned this the hard way). I can't wait [to see the movie] => No puedo esperar [a ver la pelicula] This always leaves the ...
3
votes
3answers
256 views

How can I translate “un ámbito cerrado” into English?

Here's a poem by Borges that I tried to translate into English: A Un Gato No son más silenciosos los espejos ni más furtiva el alba aventurera; eres, bajo la luna, esa pantera que nos es ...
2
votes
3answers
441 views

Proper translation of a Cole Porter song title?

I've seen the Cole Porter song title, "Begin the Beguine," translated into Spanish as "Volver a Empezar." http://lyrics.wikia.com/Julio_Iglesias:Volver_A_Empezar "Beguine," in English is a dance. ...
12
votes
5answers
766 views

How to translate the idiom: “missing the point”?

What would be the correct way to translate into Spanish the idiom: "to miss the point"? I'm often tempted to write "perder el punto", but it doesn't sound quite right. For example: "To bring ...
17
votes
8answers
851 views

How should I translate “table” (as in a data table)?

What should be the correct word in Spanish to translate "table" (as in an arrangement of text or data in rows and columns)? Somewhere I've read that "cuadro" should be preferred to "tabla", but which ...