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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
1answer
215 views

Any rhyme or reason to the names of playing cards?

Playing cards A-10 are named expectedingly, As, followed by dos through diez. But the Jack, Queen and King are called (at least in my experience): Jota Qüina Rey I can understand calling a card ...
8
votes
1answer
829 views

¿Cómo se dice “cheers” en español?

¿Qué dicen los españoles cuando juntos levantan la copa de vino solemnemente? ¿Cómo se dice "cheers" en español?
3
votes
1answer
451 views

Board game vocabulary

What are the typical translations in Spanish for the following terms related to board games? board game board (playing) pieces deck of cards to roll the dice to move forward to move backwards to ...
4
votes
2answers
564 views

Translation of “to talk behind someone's back”

What is the typical Spanish translation of the English idiom "to talk behind someone's back" (as in saying something bad about another person to others instead of to them directly)?
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Are nonsensical lyrics common in Spanish lyrics?

Based on the answer given to my other question, I'd like to know if it's common to have completely nonsensical lyrics in Spanish music. I know English music has some ridiculous lyrics, but generally ...
5
votes
1answer
430 views

A good word for “quest” in Spanish

The translation for Quest is "búsqueda" but it just does not work properly. In English we say "I'm on a quest for the holy grail" this is not quite the same as "I'm searching for the holy grail." So ...
3
votes
5answers
144 views

Translation of 'I was the one who did it'

What's the correct way to translate 'I was the one who did it'? By a literal translation it would be: Yo fui el que lo hizo. However, I know in Spanish the verb is often made to agree with the ...
8
votes
2answers
163 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
112 views

Translating “preferences” and “settings”

What is the standard way in Spanish to translate "preferences" (a menu option in computer programs where you can adjust program settings)? What is the standard way to translate "settings" (an ...
14
votes
4answers
217 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.
2
votes
3answers
97 views

video vs. grabación

What is the difference between video and grabación? In other words, what types of "videos" does each describe? Which of the two would best describe a video recorded using a home video recorder or ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Use of AM/PM in time

Aside from using 'military time' (19:00 for 7:00 PM), is there another approach to delineate between AM/PM time in Spanish?
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Why is “por” prefered to “para” in the example within?

From Shakira's Suerte: Yo puedo escalar los Andes solo Por ir a contar tus lunares Why is por preferable to para in this case. If one translation of para is roughly "for the purpose of", ...
2
votes
3answers
566 views

Difference between usage of “por favor” and “please”

I heard that Spanish puts much less value on "por favor" than English does on "please". If this is true, could someone elaborate? Are there any situations where in English 'please' is expected, but in ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Difference between some verbs and pronomial forms of the verb with the same translation

SpanishDict translates some verbs and their pronomial forms (+de, +a, etc.) as the same thing. Off the top of my head: Escapar - to escape Escaparse de - to escape Olvidar - to forget ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Translating “I'm sorry for your loss”

What is the most natural way in Spanish to say "I'm sorry for your loss," as in what you would say to someone grieving over a departed relative or friend (or even the loss of a job)?
2
votes
1answer
435 views

Literal and metaphorical translation of “duende”

I have read that duende can mean both a mythical creature or, metaphorically, a kind of magical sensation to something. What exactly does duende refer to in both senses? How would both of these senses ...
4
votes
2answers
925 views

“Vegetable”: verdura vs. vegetal

What is the difference between verduras and vegetales? In what situations can one be used as a translation for "vegetables" and the other cannot?
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Best English translation of “conmoción”

I was told the Spanish word conmoción refers to a strong feeling of shock or emotion shared by a group of people rather than an individual. It seems like English doesn't have a single word or phrase ...
2
votes
1answer
857 views

reserva vs. reservación

What is the difference between reserva and reservación (as in a reservation that you would make at a restaurant)? Do the two words mean the same thing? Which is used in what parts of the ...
0
votes
1answer
173 views

caja vs. cajón vs. estuche

"Box" in English can be translated into Spanish as caja, cajón, or estuche. What exactly is the difference between these three words? What types of boxes are translated as each? Which would best ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Most common translation of “Happy New Year!”

Is "Happy New Year!" more commonly translated as "¡Feliz Año Nuevo!" or "¡Próspero Año Nuevo!"? Are the two basically synonyms, or is there a difference between the two?
2
votes
3answers
418 views

Translating “Thanks in advance”

In letters or emails, I often end by saying "Thanks in advance," thanking the recipient in advance for whatever I am requesting. Is there an equivalent phrase in Spanish that is used in the same way?
1
vote
3answers
99 views

Ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill, average, etc

In English, there are a lot of ways to express that someone or something is standard and not particularly special or extraordinary. For example: Ordinary people like you and me can sometimes ...
0
votes
1answer
195 views

Packing material vocabulary

In English, there are quite a few words to describe materials used to pad and insulate packages that are being shipped from one place to another: packing peanuts or foam peanuts are individual ...
2
votes
3answers
149 views

Translating “aquaponics”

In English, aquaponics describes a system combining aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic relationship. I haven't been able to find this word in any Spanish-English dictionary, and the Wikipedia ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Translating “paying one's (final) respects”

In English, if someone visits a grave or goes to a funeral of someone who has died, we can say he is going "to pay his respects" or "to pay his last respects." While it's hard to explain what this ...
7
votes
3answers
429 views

Idiomatic translation of “Dame tu luz”?

In the song Pequeño Amor by the Chiquitas, there is the following chorus: Pequeño amor, por siempre tú pequeño amor, dame tu luz The song is a duet, and the above is sung by members of the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

bastante: enough or too much?

I have seen bastante translated as enough, plenty, or even too much. What range of meanings does bastante have? How can you determine whether it means just enough or too much?
4
votes
1answer
205 views

Translating “break” (during work)

In the US, it is common for workers to take a half-hour or hour lunch break in the middle of the day, plus two ten or fifteen minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. Spanish has many words that ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Translating “How long does it take to get from <here> to <there>?”

What is the most natural and common way to ask how much time it takes to get from one location to another? For example: How long does it take to get from Guadalajara to Mexico City? How long does it ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

I forgot how to say “I forgot”

Okay, so I didn't really forget how to say it... I just wanted a clever question title. In my Spanish class I was taught that olvidarse is reflexive: Me olvidé (de la cita). Me olvidé (las ...
5
votes
5answers
394 views

Computer science, software engineer/developer, and programmer

When visiting Spanish-speaking countries, I've been told various ways to translate these terms: Computer Science (as in a university degree program) Software Engineer Software Developer Programmer ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Translating “young man” and “young woman”

In English, we use the phrases "young man" and "young woman" to refer to a person (usually an adolescent) who is older than a "boy" or "girl" but younger than an "adult." It generally indicates ...
11
votes
3answers
195 views

Is there a Spanish equivalent for “OP”?

The English abbreviation OP for the term Original Poster is widely used over the internet. Do the abbreviation and/or the term have widely used equivalents in Spanish?
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Tanto X como Y - ¿importa el orden?

Estoy traduciendo una frase de inglés: Instructions are available in both English and Spanish. La estructura que me parece más natural para este uso de both es tanto ... como ...: Las ...
6
votes
2answers
291 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": ...
7
votes
1answer
346 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
1answer
778 views

What's the best way to say “perífrasis verbal” in English?

"Perífrasis verbal" seems to be used pretty consistently at least in some references to refer to grammatical constructions like ir a. But I'm not sure if it's a set grammatical or linguistic term, ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

Counterpart of “John Doe, Joe Public”?

In English these names are used as a substitute for the average guy. Or as a specimen when filling out a passport form. What names/expressions are used in Spanish for this purpose?
7
votes
4answers
307 views

Translating “I hear (that)…”

How do you translate the phrase "I hear (that)..." as in: I hear that you just got back from your vacation. I hear that it rained all last week in Seattle. I hear you got an A on your history final. ...
3
votes
5answers
291 views

Is there a colloquial Spanish equivalent for “to get it” in the sense of grasping a concept?

I was just writing in our chat room that I didn't "get" what one of the other questions was trying to ask. But I was writing in the chat room in Spanish and realized I didn't know how to say "get" in ...
9
votes
3answers
170 views

idioma, lengua and lenguaje

The words idioma, lengua and lenguaje can all be translated as "language". Are they interchangeable? If not, what are the differences among them? When to use which?
2
votes
2answers
149 views

Greetings for presents and cards

What phrases and greetings can you use for christmas presents / cards? Are there "general purpose" phrases which can be used for presents which are used the whole year, like an iPod? For example: ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Analog to “sustainability”

I asked a question on english synonyms of "sustainability" alrady on ELU. In Spanish, dictionaries and ngrams give out several options: Comparing with the english ngrams chart I conclude la ...
4
votes
2answers
728 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
242 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
617 views

Translation of “contact info”

What is the best way to say contact info in Spanish (as in a list of phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc. of a person or business)?
3
votes
1answer
249 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
798 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 ...