The literal translation of "to speak a language fluently" would be hablar un idioma con fluidez, but I have heard that means that you speak the language fluidly and smoothly rather than that you have mastered the language itself. What is the best way in Spanish to express that you are "fluent" in a language, in the English sense of having mastered that language and being able to speak/read/write/understand it accurately?

  • In English it means "Able to express oneself readily and effortlessly" thefreedictionary.com/fluent that is "fluidez". "hablar con fluidez" only refers to the speaking just because you're using the verb "hablar".
    – Juanillo
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 20:10
  • @Juanillo: In the link you gave, see the difference between 1a (mastery of a language) vs. 1b (flowing, polished speech). I'm looking for the translation of 1a as opposed to 1b.
    – jrdioko
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 20:26

2 Answers 2


You can say that a person is "elocuente". It means the person communicates a message efficiently by means of the spoken language, which is only possible when a certain level of mastery has been reached:

John es elocuente en español.

John habla español con elocuencia.

An alternative is the word "dominio" (mastery), or just say that the level is (very) advanced:

John domina el español.

John maneja el español de manera avanzada.

John tiene un nivel muy avanzado de español.

  • 4
    Maybe "Desenvolverse con soltura" can also do the trick
    – Javi
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 19:05
  • 1
    It might do the trick, but if I understand @jrdioko correctly, that would be more in the lines of speaking fluently, meaning that "you speak the language fluidly and smoothly" rather than "you have mastered the language itself". "Soltura", "fluidez" and "desenvolver" express an attitude (confidence), not a skill (mastery).
    – Janoma
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 19:58
  • 2
    I would add as an example: John habla español con fluidez
    – Icarus
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 21:10
  • @Icarus: jrdioko already clarified this in the question and in a comment. That's the meaning he does not want to translate.
    – Janoma
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 21:14
  • 3
    Elocuencia: Facultad de hablar o escribir de modo eficaz para deleitar, conmover o persuadir. That's entirely different to "fluency" and I would certainly not use "elocuente" with that intended meaning.
    – DPM
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 23:46

Dominar or domino works really well. When I was living in the Dominican Republic that's the word they used.

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