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

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6
votes
1answer
107 views

Polite terms for excrement

There are many vulgar terms for excrement, but what are the non-vulgar, polite ones (used in medical settings, or with children, or among adults in polite conversation)?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Translation of “cheesy”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English word "cheesy" (something inauthentic, trying too hard to be funny, cheap, shabby, etc.)?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Translation of “awkward” (as in “an awkward situation”)

In English, the word "awkward" can be used to describe a situation that is uncomfortable and embarrassing (but neither word seems to fully describe what "awkward" describes). What is the best ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Translation of “What goes around comes around”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English idiom, What goes around comes around?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How should “have been” be translated?

I often use the phrase "have been" (or "has been") in English in sentences like: It has been raining a lot recently. I have been thinking about the exam all week. It's been a long time since I've ...
7
votes
4answers
28k views

Where did “pico de gallo” get its name?

Does pico de gallo (the type of salsa) literally translate as "rooster's beak"? If so, where did it get that name, and how does that describe the salsa?
0
votes
4answers
279 views

What is the best way to refer to those of Spanish descent or language?

In English there are several ways to refer to people who speak Spanish or are from a Spanish-speaking country: Hispanic, Latin, Latino, Chicano, Spanish-speaking, etc. What equivalent terms exist in ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Is there a translation for 'Piloncillo'?

The dictionary says brown sugar but azúcar moreno is brown sugar. Besides piloncillo is solid and not a powder. I'm having a hard time explaining to Americans what piloncillo is.
5
votes
1answer
597 views

Words for “size”

I know there are multiple words for size in Spanish, but I'm quite fuzzy on when to use them. The two most common seem to be tamaño and talla, although in some contexts (like shoes), número seems ...
1
vote
2answers
233 views

Spanish words for cap, cover, lid, etc

What Spanish words can be used to describe a cap, cover, lid, or top (in other words, something placed on top of something, usually to close an opening)? What is the difference between tapa and tapón? ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What does “chepa” mean in Nicaraguan Spanish?

What does the word chepa mean when used to refer to a person in Nicaraguan Spanish? What are some examples of how it is used?
2
votes
1answer
193 views

Translation of “range” (as in age range)

Is there a simple translation of the English "range" as in the phrase "age range"? If not, how would "age range" best be translated?
0
votes
2answers
248 views

Translation of “a simple vista”

What is the most idiomatic English translation of the Spanish phrase a simple vista? Does it mean "at first glance," or does another expression fit better?
2
votes
1answer
137 views

Translation of “contra viento y marea”

What is the most idiomatic English translation of the Spanish phrase contra viento y marea?
3
votes
2answers
15k views

Translation of “ni modo”

The phrase ni modo is used in many varieties of Spanish to mean many different things. What are its possible meanings? Which meaning is most common (i.e. which meaning would you assume if ni modo was ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Names of children's games

There are many children's games that are played throughout many parts of the world. Do the following games exist in Spanish-speaking countries, and, if so, what are they called? (I found many of these ...
4
votes
2answers
668 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
1answer
496 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

Translation of “to play favorites”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English idiom "to play favorites" (as in favoring individuals in a group instead of treating everyone equally)?
4
votes
1answer
242 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
501 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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?
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Regional usage and literal meaning of “¡No manches!”

The phrase ¡No manches! is quite common here in Mexico, and it's easy to tell from context when it ought to be used (similar to "No way!" in English), but what does it literally mean? And where is ...
0
votes
3answers
541 views

Interpretation of quotes or famous sayings [closed]

I know you can't translate everything directly, sometimes it doesn't make sense, specially when it comes from quotes. What would be the best intepretation of the following quotes?: What goes ...
2
votes
3answers
736 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
102 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
122 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
1answer
99 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
420 views

Names of mythical beings/creatures

Another question I asked made me realize that English has many names for mythical beings. Many of these can refer to both a historical myth or superstition as well as a more modern definition (in ...
2
votes
3answers
99 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
77 views

Translating “peripheral” (computer device)

In English, "peripheral" or "peripheral device" refers to most devices that can be connected to a computer: keyboards, mice, digital cameras, external hard drives, webcams, etc. Is there an ...
2
votes
1answer
153 views

Translating “wait until” or “wait for”

How do you translate phrases involving wait until or wait for: Wait until I call you before you leave for the restaurant. Wait for me to come home before you buy the tickets. You should ...
2
votes
1answer
499 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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
2answers
10k 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
98 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Translating “for the rest of the day”

What is the best way to translate the phrase "for the rest of the day" into Spanish, as in the following examples: I'm tired, I think I want to stay home for the rest of the day. Do you think it ...
2
votes
1answer
995 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Translating “a sí mismo, por sí mismo”

The phrase is: un escritor hecho a sí mismo, por sí mismo Searching around, both a sí mismo and por sí mismo were translated as "for himself, by himself". I figure in this context it means: ...
0
votes
1answer
192 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
235 views

Airport baggage vocabulary

On a recent trip to a Spanish-speaking country, I realized I don't know most of the terms involved in the process of retrieving luggage at a destination airport. I thought it would make sense to ...
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
2answers
6k views

Equivalent of “To whom it may concern:”

When writing formal letters in English where there is no named recipient (for example, a job application sent to a Human Resources department, or a letter sent to an organization in general as opposed ...
2
votes
3answers
516 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
108 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
116 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
551 views

Translating “I don't trust you” (said casually)

I have heard that confiar is a strong word, implying trust and confidence in someone or something. What then is the right way to translate more casual uses of the word "trust"? For example, let's say ...
0
votes
1answer
207 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
751 views

Translating “Me la paso pensándote”

In Wisin y Yandel's "Estoy Enamorado," the chorus contains the following line: Me la paso pensándote, nunca voy a soltarte What does "Me la paso pensándote" mean? Is "me" a reflexive or indirect ...
0
votes
2answers
177 views

Words for “grave”: tumba vs. sepultura

English has several words for burial places, many of which have specific, distinct meanings: grave tomb vault crypt mausoleum sepulcher As far as I know, Spanish has at least two words for ...