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Sometimes, the easiest part can turn out to be the hardest one. We translate into Spanish a text which contains a lot of international words, and put them into translation without thinking, tal cual. The Spanish language obtains “retailers”, “dealers”, “drivers” and “offshores”, however – What a pity! –Spanish speakers don’t understand the translated text.

In Spain, the Royal Academy is very very strict, and the English words which are hard to pronounce for the Spanish, rarely become “popular”. So let’s try to find a proper translation of international words borrowed from English into other languages.


file, directory archivo, carpeta
driver controlador
operating system sistema operativo
flash memory card pincho (coloquial), pendrive, lapicero de memoria
screenshot captura de pantalla, pantallazo (coloquial)
upgrade actualización, actualizar
browser navegador
printer impresora
smartphone teléfono inteligente
memory card tarjeta de memoria
video card tarjeta gráfica
laptop portátil
to log in identificarse, autorizarse
to log out salir
to ban bloquear
password contraseña
nick apodo
account cuenta


In the area of economy, international words are the majority, like in a phrase "businessmen hide their profits in offshore accounts". 

Let’s translate word by word. "Business" in Spanish is negocio. A businessman is hombre de negocios. Offshores are paraísos fiscales. You can hide your profits, for instance: "ocultan sus beneficios en paraísos fiscales", o bien "declaran sus beneficios en paraísos fiscales". Spanish speakers, though, aren’t likely to say that businesspeople do it, a better translation is:

Hay empresas que declaran sus beneficios en paraísos fiscales

Let’s get from newspapers to advertisements. I got this one recently by email:

Outsourcing for retailers

I must confess that first I had to go to Wikipedia to understand what the point was. It sounds clearer in Spanish:

Externalización para minoristas

Externalizar means to transfer part of the work to a specialized company, and minoristas are retailers (al por menor), unlike wholesailers (mayoristas). Companies can also use dealers, in Spanish, distribuidores.

To sell an apartment, people hire estate agents. Spanish go to agencia inmobiliaria (estate agency). The people who work there are called in Spanish by a long name corredores de bienes raíces, though it is not used at all, people just say

el chico/la chica de la inmobiliaria

If you are an author and have written a bestseller (éxito de ventas) you regularly get... royalty. This terrible word means interest from sales and in Spanish it is derechos de autor. By the way, if you are the one who pays interest (like, for mortgage), in Spanish it’s called intereses:

Publicó un libro, que llegó a ser un éxito de ventas, y ahora vive de los derechos de autor
intereses de la hipoteca en España están en torno al 2%

To complete our overview of “international words", let’s take a look at the word rating. Everyone uses it, but, unfortunately, there isn’t an ideal translation in Spanish. Here are some examples:

Ha quedado tercero en la clasificación – He got the third place in the rating
¿Qué puesto ocupas? ¿Cuál es tu
ranking? – What’s your rating?
Esta serie lidera por su
índice de audiencia – This series has the highes rating


The word firma in Spanish means signature. The one that is put at the end of a document. The word company (firm) is translated as empresa or compañía. There are managers in a company. That’s where Spanish fails: you can often hear

Soy manager ['manayer]

though there is a nice Spanish word gerente.

I have often heard

Soy chef

The phrase is correct, though it’s translated as "I’m a chef". Directors had better say:

Soy director de la empresa ... [nombre de la empresa]

Recently, there has been a vacancy on the labour market "assistant director", "assistant designer". Naturally, it means a person who helps a director or a designer, it should be translated as:

Ayudante de director

World of Advertising

Many years ago, on a huge highway (that is – autopista in Spanish) in Kazakhstan, there was a large billboard with a phrase (a translation from English into Spanish)

Este es el lugar ideal para sus reclamaciones This is an ideal place for your advertisement

Unfortunately, reclamaciones means complaints, while advertisement is publicidad. How do we promote (publicitar) a product? Naturally by a PR-campaign! The problem is that "PR" is Public Relations in English, and in Spanish it’s written vice versa:

relaciones públicas

That’s why the Spanish usually

organizan una campaña publicitaria

How about "a promotion offer", "a promotion video, etc.? We can use the adjective promocional:

Para promocionar este producto, vamos a sacar un vídeo promocional

As for the word "offer", it can be translated as oferta, descuento (if it is for a certain product) or rebajas (if it’s sales):

Este producto está en oferta
Tenemos una oferta de dos por uno

Finally, a press release is usually translated in dictionaries as comunicado de prensa, but if it’s a brief note, we can use sinopsis or resumen. Don’t confuse this word with a résumé (in other words, "CV"): your CV is called in Spanish currículum vitae, or just currículum.

Finally, let’s have a look at the popular adjective real ("real man"), which means authentic and is translated as auténtico (in the position before a noun) or de verdad (after a noun):

Juan es un hombre de verdad

Autor/a Георгий Нуждин