DON’T SAY these 10 WRONG LITERAL Translations in SPANISH

DON’T SAY these 10 WRONG LITERAL Translations in SPANISH

If you translate literally from English to Spanish, sometimes you’ll get it right, but many times you’ll end up with hilarious results that native Spanish speakers may or may not understand. 

In this video, you’ll discover the wrong translations that Spanish learners make the most…and that you probably want to avoid.

I’m Spring Spanish teacher, Paulisima, and here is mistake Número uno: (Number 1:)

1. Sino vs. Pero 

No estudio italiano pero español. (I don’t study Italian but Spanish.) 

This is a word by word translation that almost works. That’s because “but” generally can be translated as “pero”. However, that’s not always the case. When “but” means something like “but rather…”, the right word to use is sino.  

The correct way to say this would be: No estudio italiano, sino español. (I don’t study Italian, but Spanish.) 

Otro ejemplo: (Another example:) 

No fue el lunes, sino el martes.
(It wasn’t on Monday, but on Tuesday.) 

Oh, and do watch the whole video, because I’m going to share a phrase that’s going to impress your Mexican friends. 

2. How is not always “Cómo”

¿Ya probaste la nueva Coca-Cola con café? ¿Cómo te gustó? (Have you already tried the new Coca-Cola with coffee? “How did you like it”?)  

A native Spanish speaker wouldn’t say that! We would say: 

¿Ya probaste la nueva Coca-Cola con café? ¿Qué te pareció?
(Have you already tried the new Coca-Cola with coffee? What did you think of it?)  

¿Qué te pareció?
(What did you think of it?)  

Such a beautiful chunk of Spanish to ask someone for their opinion. When learning with chunks, bad translations can’t happen because the chunk is always correct. Download a copy of the most common Spanish chunks right there in the description of this video. 

3. Realizar o Darse Cuenta 

¡No había realizado que en español, Batman se llama Bruno Díaz y no Bruce Wayne! (I hadn’t “realized” that in Spanish, Batman is called Bruno Díaz and not Bruce Wayne!) 

Can you guess what’s wrong with this? Well, in Spanish, “realizar” doesn't mean “to realize” as close in sound as both words are. 

En español, realizar significa (in Spanish “realizar” means) “to perform”, “to carry out”. 

In this case, the right way would be: 

¡No me había dado cuenta que en español, Batman se llama Bruno Díaz y no Bruce Wayne!
(I hadn’t “realized” that in Spanish, Batman is called Bruno Díaz and not Bruce Wayne!) 

We use “darse cuenta” (to realize) when we want to say realize. 

Más ejemplos: (More examples:)

¡Es tardísimo! ¡No me había dado cuenta de la hora!
(It’s so late! I hadn’t realized what time it is!) 

The following example is going to help you blend in with Mexican and Latin American centennials when talking about those guys who are a waste of everyone’s time. Use this phrase from a meme and a song to impress your Mexican friends: 

 ¡Amiga…date cuenta!
(Girlfriend… Realize!) 

Él tiene miedo al compromiso. Amiga… date cuenta! 
(He is afraid of commitment. Girlfriend… realize!) 

¡Amiga…date cuenta!  (Girlfriend…Realize!) Realize that that guy is not worth your time. Or if you want a hardcore, Mexican Spanish way of saying this “Amiga…date cuenta…que ese vato vale verg… (He is afraid of commitment… Girlfriend, realize that that dude is worth sh…) And by the way, “vale ver….” is quite vulgar, but fun! So be careful when you use it!  

Se quedó sin batería… amiga date cuenta! 
(He ran out of battery… girlfriend, realize!) 

And if you already “te diste cuenta de que tu crush vale v…. (Realized that your crush is worth for sh…) No problemo! No, actually, “no problemo” is so wrong! Find out why in this video! 

4. Hace sentido 

  • Cuando comparo la información, no hace sentido. (When I compare the information, “it doesn’t make sense”.) 
  • Ahora que me lo explicas así, hace sentido. (Now that you’re explaining to me, it makes sense.) 

This is a word by word translation of the English “make sense”. Lo correcto en español es decir: tiene sentido. Tiene sentido. (The correct way in Spanish is saying “it has sense”. “Has sense”.)  

Cuando comparo la información, no tiene sentido.
(When I compare the information, it doesn’t make sense.)  

Ahora que me lo explicas así, tiene sentido.
(Now that you’re explaining it to me, it makes sense.) 

However, you have to know that nowadays “hace sentido” in Spanish is becoming more and more popular. ¡Especialmente entre los fresas! ¡Fuertes declaraciones de Paulísima! (Especially among the “strawberry” ones! ¡Strong statements by Paulísima!) To find out more about “fresas”, who they are, how to identify them, check out the video we made about it. 

5. ¿Qué hay sobre ti? 

¿Qué hay sobre ti? To say, “What about you?” 

Súper importante: ¡esta frase no tiene absolutamente nada de malo! (Super important: there is absolutely nothing wrong with this phrase!) It’s all correct! However, this is not a phrase that you’d hear in conversations among native speakers.

Probablemente la puedas ver en los subtítulos en series o en películas. (Probably you can see it in subtitles in series or movies.) Why? Well, like I said, it’s not wrong, it’s just not common in real life at all. It’s just the way it is translated, not necessarily the way people would say it. 

Pero, si quieres sonar más natural, mejor di: (But, if you want to sound more natural, say this instead:) 

¿Y tú? (And you?) or ¿Y a tí? (And “to you?”) 

Yo no quiero salir a ningún lado el fin de semana…¿y tú? (I don’t want to go anywhere this weekend…and you?  

A mí no me gusta hablar de política… ¿y a ti?
(I don’t like talking about politics… and you?) 

Why did I use “¿y a ti?” And not “¿y tú?” Because I used the verb GUSTAR which can be tricky. Check out the video that Spring Spanish teacher, Juan, made about it. 

6. Moverse vs. mudarse 

Me encanta mi estudio, pero ya estoy lista para moverme a un lugar más grande. (I love my studio, but I’m ready to move to a bigger place.) 

El verbo “move” en inglés tiene muchos significados, entre ellos moverse y cambiarse de casa, mudarse. (The verb “move” in English has many meanings, including to move and changing houses, moving.)

In Spanish, the right verb to talk about moving to a new place is mudarse

Me encanta mi estudio, pero ya estoy lista para mudarme a un lugar más grande.
(I love my studio, but I’m ready to move to a bigger place.) 

Me mudé a la Ciudad de México en agosto de 2019.
(I moved to Mexico City in August 2019.) 

Chunk Alert! Me mudé a… (I moved to…) Just learn the whole phrase like this, not to battle with translations. 

Me mudé a esta casa hace un mes.  (I moved to this house a month ago.)

7. Introducir vs. Presentar 

¡Te voy a introducir a un chavo guapísimo! ¡Te va a encantar! (I’m going to “introduce you” to a very handsome guy! You’re going to like him so much!)

Wrong! ¡Es español, la gente no se introduce, se presenta! (In Spanish, people don’t get “introduced”, they are “presented”!)

Así que, lo correcto es: ¡Te voy a presentar a un chavo guapísimo! ¡Te va a encantar!
(So, the correct thing is: I’m going to “introduce you” to a very handsome guy! You’re going to like him so much!)

Paulísima, ¿cuándo me vas a presentar a tus sobrinas? 
(Paulísima, when are you going to introduce me to your nieces?) 

¡Nunca! 
(Never!) 

8. Hacer dinero 

Este año voy a hacer muchísimo dinero. (This year, I’m going to “make” a lot of money.) 

I mean, we are going to make a lot of money, but in Spanish the right way would be: 

Este año voy a ganar muchísimo dinero. (This year, I’m going to make a lot of money.) 

“Hacer dinero” is a word by word translation. This kind of translation is quite common among bilingual people. I’ve heard my Mexican-American friends say this often. 

Acuérdate: en español el dinero no se hace, se gana. (Remember: in Spanish, money is not made, it’s “gained”.) 

En este trabajo gano más dinero que en el pasado.
(In this job I make more money than in the previous one.) 

9. Hoy me quedaré dentro 

Estoy muy cansada, así que hoy me quedaré dentro. (I’m very tired, so today I’m “staying in”.) 

Almost correct! However, in Spanish, we don’t say “quedarse dentro” for “stayin in”. 

Lo correcto sería: (The right way would be:)

Estoy muy cansada, así que hoy no voy a salir. 
(I’m very tired, so today I’m not going out.) 

Estoy muy cansada, así que hoy me voy a quedar en mi casa. 
(I’m very tired, so today I’m going to stay in my house.) 

10. Llamar nombres 

Karen le gritó al gerente y hasta lo empezó a llamar nombres. (Karen yelled at the manager and even started “calling him names”.) 

Nope. Nope. Esta traducción equivocada la he escuchado mucho, de nuevo, entre mis amigos que son Mexicanos-Americanos. (I’ve heard this wrong translation a lot, again, among my friends who are Mexica-American.) 

In Spanish, we don’t say “llamar nombres”. We always use the word “insultar” (to insult). 

Karen le gritó al gerente y hasta lo empezó a insultar. (Karen yelled at the manager and even started insulting him.) 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.