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How do I translate sentences from Spanish to English accurately?

Translating is more about communicating the message of the sentence than translating it word for word. Spanish sentences often have a different syntax (word-order) than English ones, so read the whole sentence first, and rather than trying to translate it directly into English, try and think of how you would communicate the same message if you had never seen the Spanish version. Remember, your sentence must always make sense in the language you are translating into. 

Below is a simple example:

"El perro de mi madre" would literally translate as "The dog of my mum", but you wouldn't say it like that in English, you would say "My mum's dog". This way, you are communicating exactly the same message as in the Spanish sentence, but saying it in a much more naturally English way.

*TOP TIP* - Remember to look for clues that suggest the tone/formality of the sentence you are translating. For example, if you see "usted", your English sentence should be written in a formal style. Also, if you see the subjunctive mood being used, you should take care to communicate this in the indicative in English, as we do not have any direct translations for the subjunctive mood. 

Emma F. GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tutor, A Level Psychology...

12 months ago

Answered by Emma, an A Level Spanish tutor with MyTutor


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