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03/16/07

English-Spanish translation pitfalls #1

The English words "eligible" and "eligibility" are often translated as "elegible" and "elegibilidad" in Spanish. In my opinion, these are unnecessary and rather ugly calques. These words do exist in Spanish, but they mostly refer to people who can legally be elected (and are thus eligible) for political positions. But it is admittedly not always easy to translate these words into Spanish without using those calques. Depending on the context, these would be some of my suggested options:

Somebody that is "eligible":

- Cumple los requisitos para
- Reúne las condiciones para
- Está cualificado / calificado para
- Tiene derecho a
- Puede optar a
- Puede acceder a
- Es candidato a
- Corresponde a los criterios de selección
- Se ajusta al perfil
- Es idóneo para
- Es apto para

And eligibility may be translated as:

- Derecho a
- Idoneidad para
- Aptitud para
- Cualificación / calificación para

There are probably other "eligible" options, but the ones included here should already help in many contexts. The idea is asking yourself how you would say what the English text is conveying if you were writing in Spanish from scratch rather than translating from English...

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