Desktop, the day before yesterday, snack. One of the things our Linguistics teacher told us in journalism class is that in order to communicate fluently in English you needed to know approximately 2,500 words, while to do it in Spanish there are about 4000. This is totally false, but there is much in popular knowledge to believe that English is a simpler language with less lexicon. After all, half of its verbs are two-word combinations, unlike the rich Castilian.
Apart from the controversy of which language has more linguistic volume (a war that, at the moment, they are winning), it also happens the other way around. They are not the only ones who have to learn words that they develop into several instead of just one, we Spanish-speakers also have quite a few semantic holes that we have not yet given form to in our language… Or worse yet, we have given it but not as cool. Don’t tell me what to do self portraitsI am not in the 18th century. No, mine are selfie.
What’s more, if you know enough English, maybe your brain has adapted the concept in its language to later verify that you don’t know how to translate it into Spanish. How the hell do you say that you have been struggling with this problem or that the characters in this series are very relatable?
1)Accountability: between “transparency”, “reliability” and “accountability”. Something in between all of that.
2) Framing: Who framed Roger Rabbit was translated in Spain by Who deceived Roger Rabbit. Anyone who knows a bit about how the media works knows that to frame something is far from simply cheating.
3) Offshore: companies, financial resources or entities that you take to another country. Dislocated? Yes, but something else.
4) Badass: no, it’s not badass. A badass is a fifth-grade boy who has called the teacher a fool. Nor is he a pimp, that was Makinavaja. Not even something merely fantastic or cool, because there is that transgressive point that we cannot forget.
5) Milestones: the milestones of someone’s life are more than their milestones and there is no argument.
6) Horny: if you’re horny, you immediately need to have sex. If you’re hot you’re probably in an old porn movie. If you are horny your arousal is much softer than all that.
7) Relatable: Is that identifiable? Are the things that seek empathy? Is it narratable? None of that, just say relatable.
8) Catchy: The song, if it’s catchy, is catchy, but with the connotation that it can also be attractive or entertaining. Catchy is sweet, catchy not necessarily.
9) Cleavage: widely used to simply say neckline, but it has a root that links it to the idea of ”splitting” that is lost in Spanish.
10) Trade Off: that cost-benefit ratio, that opportunity cost, that losing something to gain something… Compensation or exchange are too small to explain the trade-off.
11) Backlash: in journalistic jargon, the reaction of rejection against the action of some agent. See: the backlash to recent comments by Félix de Azúa has been very strong.
12) Buzz word: We could leave it in “fashionable expression”, but it is also used a lot in the world of work. To get an idea: some recent buzzwords could be synergy, big data or clickability.
13)Insight: The insight of something is its revelation, its internal reflection. Depending on the phrase, it can also refer to knowledge about something, the vision of a subject, perception, insight… the thousand and one forms of insight in Spanish.
14) Miscarriage: spontaneous or natural abortion. Yes, as we say in Spanish, they are still two words.
15) Homesick: In Spanish we only have “homesickness” which is a very Galician thing and therefore very heavy for what we want to say here.
16) Crush: a crush is more than a crush because it is an action that is maintained over time. The closest thing we have is “being caught and enchochado”. He tries to substitute those words for the following sentence: I have a crush on Tom Hardy.
17) Nice: Yes, it’s “okay” but like with positive reinforcement. When something is nice it is “sweet”. cool? No, cool is cool. Thinking face emoticon.
18) Hype: hype is hype is hype. Hype.
19) Shallow:: the shallow and that which has no substance. Of course it is also sometimes used for the plain…
20) Shower Bag: because the douchebag is more than an asshole, it’s almost an urban tribe. The douchebag is seen by the pints, the asshole not necessarily.
21) Stride: it has something to do with your progress, with your pace. A dry means stride or advance, to stride is to walk with a long step (logical), but take in stride happens to mean taking something easy.
22) Overclocking: popular technique to achieve an increase in the performance of a system. Almost almost like “chetar” something.
23) Bullshit: “And shit”, “don’t hesitate”… when you detect that something is bullshit, it’s bullshit, period.
24) Impeachment: it’s something they do, in the Anglo-Saxon world. A type of process by which a high public office can be prosecuted. Fundéu proposes “removal process”, eight syllables for something that they reduce to three.
25) Whimsy: capricious? fantastic? enigmatic? Everything at once? A playful concept.
26) Handicap: defect as an obstacle, but the origin of this word, linked to the sports field, makes the aspect of “disadvantage” take on a more calculating dimension than if it did not have it.
27) Awkward: the sum resulting from joining the uncomfortable with the strange and the clumsy. The awkward moments are something different from the uncomfortable moments in Spanish.
28) Brainstorming: Brainstorming is three words. Ask many office workers, to see what they say when they have a creative meeting. Therefore: do we also include a briefing here? We also include a briefing here.
29) Cherrypicking: it is not just choosing or selecting. The cherry picker is an exploiter and the cherry picking is a type of fallacy based on the partial selection of the facts to benefit one of the positions.
30) Unboxing: Unpack? Unpacking is what stockers do with supermarket food, not people in their free time with special products and generating a whole ritual around this materialistic action.
31) Spoilers: If you want, you can listen to Álex Grijelmo and start calling your dear spoiler friend “the ripper”.
32) Foreplay: foreplay is, well, sexual. Warming up is what soccer players do. When you mess around and directly focused on getting older (although later there aren’t any that day) that’s foreplay.
33) Flow: Here, with all my elf. Apply in the same way for swag.
34) Apply: what has been to make a request but no. Hence those translations that you find saying that so-and-so “applied”.
35) Aww: we could say that it is simply astonishment, but when someone is in a state of awe it is, rather what it sounds like, “aaawe”.
36) Ticket: Try to live without tickets, to see how you move with tickets. It is true that if we accept a ticket, you also have to take a taxi, but it is a word in English, so…
37) Hater: those who comment below to show that the one who writes this has no idea of translation and does not take the language seriously enough.