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I'm editing a flashcard deck by adding sentences as examples. For la acción I wanted to use the translation of "Actions speak louder than words". Just for fun I looked it up on iTranslate. It gave me

Obras son amores, que no buenas razones

I'm guessing that would translate as something like Works are loves with no good reasons. Am I close?

I was thinking what I wanted should be something like

Acciones habla con más fuerte que palabras.

Would one use a literal translation such as this in Spanish or is there another phrase that means the same thing?

P.S. If anyone is interested, the entire "1001 Most Useful Spanish Words" by Seymour Resnick is on quizlet.com. It only has the words and their translations. That's why I'm adding examples.

  • I'm from Argentina and don't really get the Obras son amores... phrase – mgarciaisaia Jan 2 '16 at 3:46
  • Just a suggestion, it's probably not a good idea to translate English idiomatic phrases to Spanish for your flash cards. As your question demonstrates, an idiomatic translation has practically nothing to do with a literal translation. If your goal is to learn the Spanish phrase, great, but if your goal is to learn the Spanish word for "actions", it would be better to use a non-idiomatic English phrase as your source. – Flimzy Jan 4 '16 at 9:29
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The sentence you got is correct, and it means something like:

Actions are love, not so good reasons (= good reasons aren't love).

This saying roughly means that you prove how much you love someone by doing things (e.g., by helping them), not by just stating a couple of reasons why you would help them or giving out the reasons why you didn't (e.g., I'm really busy right now). Both interpretations are equally plausible from my point of view. There are several idioms to express the same thing as "Actions speak louder than words" or similar ideas. In this page, Dawn39 has compiled a really nice selection of sayings:

  • Del dicho al hecho hay/va un buen trecho. (= From the saying to the doing there's a wide gap)
  • El movimiento se demuestra andando. (= You prove movement by walking)
  • El ejemplo es lo que vale/cuenta. (= The example is what counts)
  • Las palabras se las lleva el viento. (= Words are carried away by the wind)
  • Las acciones dicen más que las palabras. (= Actions speak more than words)

The ones I hear more often are "Del dicho al hecho hay/va un buen trecho" (which even rhymes) and "Las palabras se las lleva el viento", but that depends on the region. On the other hand "Las acciones dicen más que las palabras" contains the word "acción", so it would be a good example of the word in question.

As Diego thoroughly explained, the literal (albeit not idiomatic) translation for "Actions speak louder than words" would be:

Las acciones hablan con más fuerza que las palabras.

Since "speak out loud" is generally translated as "hablar alto", I would also suggest:

Las acciones hablan más alto que las palabras.

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When I heard "Obras son amores, que no buenas razones" I actually heard it as

Obras son amores, que no buenas intenciones.

To me, the difference is important. What my version says is that what is important is the action, not the fact that you say you are going to do it. For example, you could say that you would love to help a friend clean their garage, or even that you will do it, but that doesn't mean much. Actually doing so is what is important. The other version uses "reasons", which completely changes the sense.

Regarding Acciones habla con más fuerte que palabras, first, you need to use an article (and the same goes for palabras). Then, the verb (habla) must agree in number with the subject (acciones is plural). Finally, fuerte is an adjetive, and after the construct con más you want a name (unlike what you'll need with just más). Fuerza would be the name related to fuerte. I know that this one is counterintuitive if you think that in English you want to say that actions speak louder or stronger than words. You'll say

Juan ha golpeado más fuerte que Pedro,

but

Juan ha golpeado con más fuerza que Pedro.

So the corrected version would be:

Las acciones hablan con más fueza que las palabras.

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There's a roughly very similar translation to Spanish that goes "Las acciones dicen mas que mil palabras." Literally: "Actions say more than a thousand words." That's just the closest way of translating it to a Spanish saying. If you want a literal translation, then it would be "Las acciones hablan mas duro que las palabras."

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