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List of Spanish Words without Translation

Some Difficulties Encountered When Performing a Spanish Translation

Spanish is a Romance language, and far more closely related to Italian than it is to English. When performing Spanish to English translation, the big differences in the two languages make it a challenging task for the translator to ensure a properly translated document. Some of the challenging differences that might be seen in a Spanish English translation include:

  • In Spanish, verb tenses alter with the subject so there is often no need for “it”, “she” or “I”. In English it is not possible to do away with the subject or you end up with a sentence that may not make sense.
  • Spanish often places the adjective after the noun. This is not the case with English, which needs to be kept in mind when doing a Spanish translation.
  • The only double letter combinations in Spanish are cc, ll, and rr. English has many more and often missed in translations.

Translations are very seldom simply using an English word to replace a Spanish word. Translation must take into consideration the concept and ideas that are being conveyed. In fact some Spanish words have no direct equivalent in the English language.

Some Spanish Words That Don’t Have an Exact English Match

There are some words used in the Spanish language that don’t have a corresponding word that means the same thing in English. If doing a Spanish translation to English, several words may be needed to get the same idea across, as a single word in Spanish does. The following is a list of Spanish words without an exact English version:

1) Te quiero

spanish translation

Falls in between I like you and I love you in romantic relationships. It expresses stronger feeling than saying you like somebody but doesn’t carry the strength of feeling that “I love you” does. In non-romantic relationships it may be used as “I love you”. An approximate translation of would be “I really do care for you, but don’t quite love you.”

2) Desvelado

spanish translation

In English this would translate roughly to “lack of sleep” or “unable to sleep”.

3) Tuerto

spanish translation

This is a one word term that means “only one eye”. El hombre es tuerto translates roughly to “the man has only one eye”.

4) Friolento/friolero

spanish translation

Someone who is extremely sensitive to cold. Es muy friolera translates to “she really feels the cold”.

5) Tutear

spanish translation

To address somebody informally by addressing the as “tu” as opposed to “usted” which is more formal.

6) Sobremesa

spanish translation

The time after eating a meal, when no food remains but conversation at the table continues.

7) Pena Ajena/Verguenza Ajena

spanish translation

To feel embarrassed or ashamed on behalf have another person, whether or not the person shares the same feeling.

8) Merendar

spanish translation

To have an afternoon snack or tea


9) Antier/Anteayer

spanish translation


Spanish word the translates to the “day before yesterday”.

10) Estenar

spanish translation

To use something or wear something for the first time

Every language has concepts that are represented by words, but not every language has the same concepts. All languages including Spanish have their own system for arranging and placing concepts into different parts of speech, often making it difficult or impossible to make a one on one word equivalent exchange in a Spanish translation as you see in the above list of Spanish words. If you intend to do business or work in a Spanish speaking country, or market to those for whom Spanish is a first language, you may want to consider using the best translation service. Our company is one of the top translation services in the industry.

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