Certified Spanish Translator and Interpreter  

The Interpretator

Common mistranslated words between English and Spanish

Posted by rpospina on September 11, 2014 at 3:05 PM

As an interpreter, I constantly hear Spanish-speakers from different backgrounds and levels of education; some remain very loyal to our native language and others, due to the influence of the English language, are starting to blend the two into what we know as “Spanglish”.


Spanglish is more than the well-known and obvious expressions such as “yo tengo billes que pagar” [I have bills to pay]; there are many other “additions” to this dictionary that are far more discrete, such as “tengo que llenar una aplicación” [I have to fill out an application]. The latter always makes me question my renditions and wonder if I'm using the right terms.


Now I want to share with you this list I started this as a personal exercise and constant reminder of these common false cognates:

The word: Is not:  It should be:

Apply, (to) Aplicar  Solicitar


Attend Atender  Asistir


Carpet Carpeta Alfombra, tapiz


Cervix Cérvix*  Cuello uterino (o del útero)


College Colegio Universidad, instituto.


Constipation Constipación Estreñimiento


Cup Copa Taza


Defendant Defendido Acusado, demandado


Discuss Discutir Platicar, hablar acerca de [...]


Disorder Desorden Trastorno


Drugs (medications) Drogas Fármacos, medicinas


Embarrassed Embarazada/o Avergonzado, apenado


Expiration Expiración Vencimiento


Facilities Facilidades Instalaciones


Fence Fenza Cerca, verja


Insurance Aseguranza Seguro


Introduce Introducir Presentar


Intoxicated Intoxicado Embriagado, ebrio, borracho


Language Lenguaje Idioma, lengua


Library Librería Biblioteca

To move (in or out) Moverse Mudarse


Nurse Norsa Enfermera


Qualified Calificado Capacitado, reúne los requisitos


Recipient Recipiente Destinatario, receptor


Remark Remarcar Comentario


Sympathy Simpatía Empatía


Truck Troca Camión, camioneta


Tubes (Fallopian) Tubos Trompas


Yard Yarda Jardín, patio

* The RAE dictionary (Real Academia Española) has this term under consideration  for future inclusion: RAE.es


Categories: Interpreting, Translation, Glossaries

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