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Written by Javier Arizpe

September 23, 2020

English words that made their way into Spanish


No matter how seasoned you are as a translation professional, there are always words that are difficult to translate or that have made their way into our own language, and we use them in our conversations, as if they were another word in Spanish.


We have another article in which I tell you about why we should avoid foreign words at all costs, or at least limit their use as much as possible. The reason why we use these kind of words is the challenge that represents finding a translation for them. It doesn’t happen in the English language only.

No language is exempt to have words or phrases whose translation isn’t a walk in the park. Not every word has a direct equivalent in another language. Remember, by saying difficult we’re not saying impossible.


Stalkear (Stalking)

The first word on our list became really popular thanks to social networks. You can search on line to find this word in headlines and news articles.

This word may belong in a casual conversation between friends, but we need to look for a better term in Spanish for a translation. Which words can we use? It all depends on the context, but in Spanish we have “acechar”, “espiar”, and “husmear” that can be a better option.



This annoying way of advertising used by some companies (we all hate it, by the way), is usually called spam in Spanish. However, the RAE (the institution that records the usage and changes of Spanish language) has the phrase “correo basura” (junk mail) as its equivalent. Despite that, when we open our Gmail Inbox, we can still see a button with an exclamation point that says “Mark as spam.”


To have a crush…

This is one of the most difficult expressions to translate because the definition of crush is: “A brief and intense desire for someone who might be unreachable” so that translating a phrase with this word by using the above definition could result in a long and complicated sentence.

As an alternative to this English word, in Spanish we can say, “estar encaprichado/a con” (to be infatuated with); close, but not enough. So, we’ll continue using the original term.


Other tricky words

I can tell you without a trace of doubt in my mind that there are many tricky words in English. These tricky words may become a problem when translating them, especially those words that we have been ingrained into a foreign vocabulary and aren’t even adapted to fit into the language.

Even though we see the equivalent term in another language for some of these words: CEO, start-up, selfie, software, geek or hater, we’ll probably continue using them in our conversations and seeing them in texts in the future.

Finally, I invite you to read the article on Spanish words that are difficult to translate into English.


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