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In the context of a video game menu, which has a selection/button labeled "PLAY!" which when pressed will take the user from the menu into a new game, what would be the correct Spanish translation? Should it be "¡JUEGA!"? Or maybe "¡JUEGUE!"?

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  • Thanks everyone! I was prompted to ask this question after setting my game to Spanish (just to make sure it was switching languages properly - I'm an engineer), and finding that "PLAY!" was now "¡REPRODUCIR!" I have only a one year high school Spanish class under my belt, from 30 years ago, but this seems wrong to me. – Mike Kelly Apr 22 '16 at 2:58
  • "A jugar" is the way it would in mexico, but i can't speak for all of the spanish speaking world. – Paul Apr 24 '16 at 3:39
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Interesting, both could work but, as a gamer, I've often seen ¡juega! instead of using the subjunctive. But I wouldn't be surprised if I saw the instruction given as ¡juegue!, it sounds a little weird to my ears though.

However, base forms in English are often translated with the infinitive in Spanish, namely play! = ¡jugar!

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    Infinitive is definitely the option to use. Juega/jugá/juegue would to me generally be the sign of a less experienced translator. – user0721090601 Apr 21 '16 at 10:50
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I feel that "jugar" or "juega" could also work for the game. To send a text on an iPhone you press the "ir" button to "go" or send. Like Ustanak said it would sound a little off to say "jugue" as the tú informal command.

¡jugar!

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I would also find understandable something like

¡Empezar!

or

¡Empieza!

To mean "start new game".

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    Even though Play (imperative) is translated as Juega, I think this answer is the most-used in a gaming scope. – I.G. Pascual Apr 21 '16 at 8:27
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For sure it would be "jugar". That is what most, if not all, spanish games use, as meaning "to play", what does the user want? he wants to play, he wants..."jugar". Don't think any conjugations of the verb work better than the infinitive

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"Juega" is the imperative form of the verb: "Juega tú".

"Juegue" is also the imperative form of the verb: "Juegue usted".

It is easily seen that both forms are the second person of the singular on imperative tense, with "juega" associated with the informal "tú" and "juegue", coincident in form with the third person, associated with the more formal "usted". From these, a third form arises:

"Jugá" is the imperative form of the verb: "Jugá vos"

This third form is the standard in zones with the "voseo" characteristic.

So, the answers suggesting to use the infinitive "Jugar" are wrong (as most of the game translations out there). The english "Play" is an imperative, not an infinitive which would be written as "To play".

But still, the question is not answered, as we have seen that all three ("Juega", "juegue", "jugá") are valid. From these, you need to choose taking in account the zone of the Spanish world for which you are translating.

In Argentina and nearby zones, it will be always "jugá".

In Spain, if you are formally addressing the player, it will be "juege", but if you are addressing him unformally (as usual in most electronic means, but not necessarily correct) it will be "juega".

In most zones of the Americas, it will be always "juega".

Recommendation: to make one single translation, use "juega".

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  • The translation of the imperative is, of course, juega, etc. But interfaces almost always use just the infinitive. Every menu in an English language computer uses imperatives, but in Spanish and many they always use infinitives. Things should be translated taking into account the situation which in this case is a menu. – user0721090601 Apr 21 '16 at 23:03
  • @guifa The fact that something is common doesn't mean that it is correct. The translation being usually in infinitive is an error, albeit usual. – Envite Apr 26 '16 at 7:07
  • sorry, I have to disagree. For interfaces, the infinitive is correct, and that's standard in most (all?) Romance languages. Your edit menu doesn't say "copie, corte, pegue, seleccione todo" but rather "copiar, cortar...". RAE fully accepts and agrees with this usage. – user0721090601 Apr 26 '16 at 13:28
  • You should check "El libro del español correcto" by Instituto Cervantes. These usages of infinitive are covered by pages 60 and 259. Infinitive should be used instead of imperative only for general negative orders ("Do not smoke"->"No fumar"), and subjuntive instead of imperative for particular negative orders ("You, do not smoke"->"No fuméis"). I repeat: something being COMMON does not implie it is CORRECT. Please also check what RAE itself says: rae.es/consultas/infinitivo-por-imperativo – Envite Apr 26 '16 at 19:27

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