Is there a translation that means something similar as it does in English?

In my case I need that this was in the Informatic Sciences field, you can see the expression in this book: Java in a Nutshell

3 Answers 3


There are two phrases that come to my mind to translate "In a nutshell":

  • En resumidas cuentas
  • Compendio

I think the second one can be used better for your example, in the following form:

Compendio de Java

See here the definition in RAE for "Compendio":


Del lat. compendium.

  1. m. Breve y sumaria exposición, oral o escrita, de lo más sustancial de una materia ya expuesta latamente.

  2. m. El Salv. complicación (‖ dificultad).

en compendio

  1. loc. adv. p. us. en sustancia (‖ en resumen).

Like always, idiomatic expressions cannot be translated directly and saying "Java en una cáscara de nuez" wouldn't make any sense. Instead, we have to go to the meaning of it and try to find some equivalents.

Since the expression refers to "knowledge to be gained through a not very long set of information", these are the expressions that I would use in Spanish:

  • En resumen
  • En pocas palabras

Or even:

  • Guía rápida de Java
  • Breviario de Java
  • 1
    "In a nutshell" isn't quite the same as "through not a very long set of information." It's more like "The general shape of", or "the most important parts."
    – Flimzy
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 17:41
  • 4
    As a matter of fact, there is at least one literary instance of such a direct translation, by a prestigious publishing house: Stephen Hawking's The universe in a nutshell.
    – guillem
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 19:25
  • 1
    @guillem As discussed in one answer to the German.SE question that I assume triggered this question, the title of the book comes from a quote from Hamlet that uses "nutshell" in the literal sense. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 20:19
  • 1
    "Breviario"? Sorry but I'm a semi-native Spanish speaker (from Spain) and I've never heard this word before. For sure it's not a common Spanish word in Spain nowadays (maybe in some Latin American countries?). Also, there's no definition for this word in the normative Spanish dictionary that really fits this meaning (dle.rae.es/?id=65VCqYQ) (the closest one is marked as "obsolete")
    – Pere
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 23:40
  • 1
    @fedorqui out of curiosity if it was me the ignorant, today I conducted a little poll at the office. For half of the desk, it was a known and almost a usual word (one acknowledged having a "Brevario" of something, like you), albeit they agreed it could sound a little old fashioned. The other half, plus me, didn't know it at all... Oh, and maybe the sample size was not significant at all (five people...).
    – Pere
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 23:28

"En pocas palabras" (this would be my personal choice)
"En breve"
"En resumen"
"En esencia"

Google Translate says: "en una palabra"... please don't use this one.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.