TRANSLATIONS 101 - English - Spanish - English translations
Advanced English classes for Spanish speakers who want to improve their communication skills and use English in meetings and at international conferences. - Clases de inglés avanzado para personas que hablan español y quieren mejorar sus habilidades de comunicación y entender y hablar en ínglés en juntas o en conferencias internacionales.
T101 © DR



Purpose of the translation:

If you need a translation only for general meaning, there are sites on the internet which will give you a "rough" computer-generated translation for free. (Or you can purchase software which will give you similar results.)
But if you need a complete and correct translation, you will need the assistance of an experienced human translator.

Many governments and private companies are working on software to produce better translations and some day this will be possible, but for now, if it is your company's name and reputation, or your years of R&D that is to be translated, the investment in having it done right is fully justified!


Experience has shown us that many documents require editing before being translated. To save you this added expense, we recommend thoroughly reviewing everything to correct or eliminate duplicated, ambiguous or unclear material.


Other typical problem areas are inconsistent style, terminology and abbreviations usage. To avoid this, we recommend using an established style or "designing" a style suitable for your specific field before the preparation of your original document. (This is an investment of a few moments which can save you the time and cost of major revisions throughout the preparation of your project.)

Tabulated material:

Tables can pose special problems. Apart from the previously-mentioned points, pay close attention to "logic." We often find material which should
be in column "X" is included in column "Y" or that parts of columns are transposed.


There are important style/concept differences between Spanish and English which must be taken into consideration when translating.

In English, terms and expressions are often idiomatic, and sometimes the "dictionary-correct" term may make your translation from Spanish sound stilted, overly-formal, legalistic or simply "strange."  (Where appropriate,
we will footnote such usage so that you can decide which you prefer in any given document.)

Format variations:

While becoming less common, sometimes in Spanish a document which should have a recurring format with only detail/specification changes, is intentionally given a variety of styles to make it appear "interesting." If your original has a variety of styles or presentations, we will assume you want the translation to be presented in the same way, even though we must advise you that the resulting translation will often be unnecessarily confusing. (Obviously, we recommend re-formatting this type of document before translation. Apart from the resulting clarity, you will probably find that you can indicate specific blocks to translate and thereby dramatically reduce translation costs!  If, for any reason, you can not re-format a document, please ask about our editing services.)

Ambiguity and completeness:

We recommend having your original checked by someone who has not been involved in its preparation as sometimes an author's knowledge of a subject makes it difficult to write at a "beginner's" level in a complete, clear and simple style. This is to eliminate ambiguity and/or incomplete information.

This process can equate to savings because, if a document is "untranslatable" because of lack of clarity, we will have to return it to you to be re-written or edited. [ = time]
We will charge you for the material translated up to the point where we discover the problem, even though you may have to ask us to translate
re-written sections. [ = money]

In rare cases material is intentionally ambiguous (eg: some types of examinations, some contracts/legal documents, some tenders/quotes). We would appreciate a side-note where this occurs so that we do not have to check it with you.

Numbers and dates:

Numbers and dates presented in half-spelled/half-numerical format
(10 millones) will be presented in purely numerical form. (10,000,000).

Unless otherwise requested, dates will be presented in the British day/month/year format for clarity. (25 Dec 2018)

Making sure that the date format used in your original document is logical and consistent will save you time (and money) when it is time to translate your document.


To comply with international standards, numbers will be separated by commas (987,654,321) unless otherwise requested.

To avoid possible confusion caused by the way that spaces are interpreted by computers, no spaces will be included inside parentheses, except between words. eg: (Tom Jones is my stage name.)   Not: (  Tom Jones is my stage name.  )

Which English?

Please specify if you prefer British or US English.

How to check your work:

Probably the most valuable "tip" we can offer to simplify how you check your documents is "item" checking.   At first this may seem to be slow, but we can assure you that you will be surprised how quickly you can find errors and inconsistencies.
  • Simply pick one recurring item.
        (This could be as "basic" as page numbers.)
  • Check only that item throughout the whole document.
  • Next, pick another item.
        (eg: Headings: style/size/space/bold/italic/color/etc.)
        and check only that item.
  • Continue item by item.
  • Not only will you find errors and inconsistencies, but you will probably
        find better and clearer ways to present your material.
    (Even though your document was prepared with an established style, often specific elements do not fit that "style" and little-by-little variations appear.)

  • Thank you for visiting:

    ADD Translations101
      (Add your comments)





    Inicio / Top