Aspects of English into Spanish Translation

There are several significant aspects of English into Spanish translation that need to be studied as there are linguistic differences (lexical, grammatical, and stylistic) between the two languages.

Cultural Differences

The Spanish translator needs to understand the existence of cultural differences between the two languages and their implications for Spanish translation. For example, the translator must study the special problems that proper nouns cause during such English into Spanish translation.

That cultural differences exist is a commonly acknowledged fact. That they have an impact on the development of vocabulary and language is also generally recognized. One kind of cultural difference arises when a particular scientific discovery has been made in one particular culture and needs to be imparted in another culture. In all probability, no expression exists in the target language to render that discovery.

Solutions and Rules

Then the Spanish translator will either have to come up with a neologism, a new expression, or he or she will have to embark on a lengthy explanation. Another kind of difference stems from the existence or the predominance of a phenomenon in the source culture but not in the target culture. For example, the phenomenon of bullfighting is unique to Spanish culture, and to render it into English, the translator must practice some ingenuity.

Translation of proper nouns is another significant aspect of English into Spanish translation. Translation of proper nouns is both complex and confusing because there are too many rules, and all such rules come with some form of exception in Spanish translation. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to keep the following rules in mind:


Names of common men and women are not translated. Exceptions are the names of kings, saints, major historical figures, and the Pope.

If versions of religious, military, or professional titles exist in the target language, then they should be given preference. If no English or Spanish equivalents are known, then, depending on the context, the title may either be dropped or kept in the source language.

In a reversal of past trends, the tendency today is not to translate geographic names. However, the geographic names that have already been translated, like London into Londres or New York into Nueva York, are still maintained. Street names are not translated either.


Titles of jobs are translated into the target language unless the title involves some kind of wordplay.


There is a crucial difference between Spanish and English punctuation that deserves special attention when translating. In Spanish, it is mandatory to begin all sentences with either an upside-down question mark or an upside-down exclamation mark.

When translating into English, the Spanish translator must be careful about where he or she places the punctuation mark in the English sentence. Knowledge of these significant differences between the two languages will make the task of Spanish translation easier by increasing the translator´s understanding and efficiency.

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