At present, I'm developing a mobile app called Left with the slogan "When things don't go right, go Left." At the same time, I'm translating the interface into Spanish from English.

I'm not sure as to whether I ought to translate the word Left in the slogan as in:

Cuando las cosas no van bien, ir (a la?) izquierda.

(This may be more grammatically correct:

Cuando las cosas no van bien, vaya a la izquierda.)

Alternatively, I could do the following:

Cuando las cosas no van bien, ir Left.

It looks though like the second one would make less (if any) grammatical sense. What would be the best practice?

  • 1
    This works only in your language, because right is understood with the meaning of direction and correct, so if you intend to translate it into Spanish, it won't work because won't produce the same meaning as it is in English.
    – Schwale
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 17:10
  • 2
    You can still say si las cosas no andan derechas, vaya a la izquierda. Normally proper nouns aren't translated (Left), but doing it won't hurt either. The sentence sounds a little clumsy, but it's still grammatically correct and keeps most of the wordplay flavor. Here derechas is feminine plural, and literally means straight.
    – Rafael
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 19:10
  • Are you translating the app name into Spanish, or sticking with "Left"?
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 20:24

2 Answers 2


I think there is a way to adapt the pun:

Cuando las cosas no salen a derechas, prueba a izquierdas.

It may seem a bit forced, but so is the original. Of course, we can try several variations on the theme until we get the right (wink) sentence in Spanish. Maybe:

Cuando las cosas no salen al derecho, prueba al izquierdo.

Salir a derechas or al derecho means to be carried out con acierto, con destreza, con justicia.

Edit: I'm sorry, I didn't see Rafael's comment before posting my answer, it's basically the same approach but with a slight variation. My fault.

  • 1
    Don't worry. A derechas sounds to me as Spaniard-only, though. If the OP's target is Spanish speakers in the U.S. I'd ask for a third opinion
    – Rafael
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 22:00
  • 1
    @Rafael you're most certainly right. Maybe something more adapted to the Spanish speakers in the US would be better if that's the case.
    – Charlie
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 12:02
  • 1
    I would say Si las cosas no salen del derecho...
    – Yay
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 13:42

IMHO: I wouldn't translate the slogan - it is very difficult (if possible at all) to make a translation that both makes sense and keeps the name of the app.
Besides, many companies keep their slogans or the name of their products in English (like Avis: "We try harder, Burger King: "Whopper", McDonalds "BigMac")


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