Spanish Translation  //  Traductor inglÚs-espa˝ol  //  Traduction franšais-espagnol

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True friends

Last week I talked about "false friends" between English and Spanish, which can create serious translation errors. But if there are false friends, one would assume that there must be true friends too, right? Even if linguistic studies don't really talk much about that. Let's see if we can come up with similar words in English and Spanish which would actually carry the same meaning:


And these are just a few examples starting with the "A" letter! If we generalize from here, we can safely say that most similar English-Spanish words actually mean the same. Interestingly, this is exactly what poses the biggest problem. If all English-Spanish couples of similar words meant the same thing, there wouldn't be an issue. If less than half of them meant the same thing, translators would use a lot of caution. However, if most of them mean the same, one can easily be lulled into a false sense of security and happily translate all English words into their similar Spanish counterparts—or vice versa—and create many nonsensical or wrong translations. This is one other reason why translation requires a high degree of training and experience, plus a strong eye for detail and a systematic doubting or questioning frame of mind...


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