Spanish to English translation

With more than 470 million native speakers worldwide, Spanish is frequently considered to be the second most widely spoken language on our planet. This means that the number of Spanish language documents and texts being produced is enormous, and the need for Spanish to English translation is huge.

For many of us, the Spanish speaking world might not seem so distant. After all, most of us have studied at least a little bit of Spanish at school, and we all know somebody who has picked up the lingo while trekking across South America or studying in Spain. We hear Spanish all the time too; as we’re watching the latest episode of Narcos on Netflix or humming along to Despacito on the radio.

But despite this ever increasing closeness, Spanish remains a complex and culturally distinct language, and the gap between Spanish and English is often much wider than you might think.

To begin with, Spanish syntax and word order is often completely different to what we use in English. Spanish sentences tend to be long and winding, with a completely different order and rhythm to natural English speech. Word-for-word Spanish to English translation therefore often results in mind-boggling English sentences that may be technically correct, but which leave you scratching your head or reaching for the paracetamol.

To ensure a good, professional and readable translation, these long sentences need to be broken up and sometimes reordered completely. But this is no easy task; it takes skill to reorganise the original without changing the meaning or shifting emphasis from one place to another. It’s a job that calls for a competent mother-tongue translator who can both recognise the function and meaning of every word, while also rendering the text naturally and intuitively in English.

Spanish words and phrases can also mean different things depending on who is speaking them or where they are being spoken. If you have studied Spanish at school, you might think that translating a simple word such as coche (car) is relatively straight-forward. But did you know that in Chile, coche usually doesn’t mean car at all, but rather pram or stroller, and in Guatemala it can even mean pig?

Rato is another tricky one. Generally, this word means an unspecified period of time, but the implied length can be very different from place to place. In Mexican Spanish, for example, it means a short moment, while in Spain, it means a long while. Translated incorrectly, this word can easily cause confusion and discord between business partners, and the potential consequences may be disastrous.

Here at Comunica, our mother-tongue translators are highly trained in the complexities of Spanish to English translation. They are ready and waiting to help you bridge the gap between these two cultures – accurately, professionally and naturally!

 

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