Five Election Year Words Often Poorly Translated Into Spanish

As you know, 2016 is the year of Presidential elections not only in the United States but also in some Latin American countries such as Perú. Media organizations are covering these elections in great detail but their reports are often translated literally and wrongly. As a result, we have picked five election year words often poorly translated into Spanish. Here are accurate, useful translation alternatives from English into Spanish, some of which have been featured by Fundéu as well.

  1. Constituency

This English word is often mistranslated into Spanish as “constituir” and it indeed does not have anything to do with this concept. Accurate translations are “electores”, “votantes”, “electorado”, or even “distrito electoral” and “circunscripción electoral”.

Translation Example:

English: “Kaine’s appeal to younger voters would strengthen Clinton among a constituency that has strongly favored Sanders over her in the primaries” — Fortune

Spanish: “El acercamiento de Kaine a los votantes más jóvenes fortalecería la imagen de Clinton entre un electorado que en las primarias ha favorecido mucho más a Sanders que a ella” — Fortune

  1. Establishment

The word “establecimiento” for establishment is often used in error. There are of course much more appropriate alternatives than this literal translation. For example, establishment can be translated into Spanish as: “élite política dominante”, “clase política dominante”, “grupo de poder”, among some other options. These Spanish phrases perfectly convey the English definition of establishment: the dominant group in a field of endeavor or in an organization.

Translation Example:

English: “New York primary exit polls show that republican voters feel the primary has been divisive and they want a non-establishment candidate.” — CNN

Spanish: “Las encuestas a boca de urna en las elecciones primarias de New York demuestran que los electores republicanos creen que dichas elecciones han causado divisiones, y quieren un candidato que no sea parte de la clase política dominante”. — CNN

  1. Impeachment

We picked this term from the list of five election year words often poorly translated into Spanish because we have noticed that in the case of the recent and much-talked about impeachment case in Latin America involving Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff many times “impeachment” has been translated as “destitución”. This does not convey the process per se of accusing a public official before an appropriate tribunal of misconduct in office. This Spanish word also conveys a result (removal from office), which is not always the case, nor the end result.

Impeachment can be translated into Spanish as “proceso de destitución”, “procedimiento de destitución”, “juicio político”, “juicio de desafuero”, etc., depending on the legal system of each Latin American country.

Translation Example:

English: “Brazilians protest – for and against – president’s impeachment” — CNN

Spanish: “Los brasileros protestan a favor y en contra del proceso de destitución de la presidenta” — CNN

  1. Lobby, lobbist

These English words have invaded the Spanish vocabulary. They have taken many forms such as “hacer lobby” or “lobista”, and we can found them in Latin American printed and online media. While they are widely accepted if used in italics, there are valid alternatives in Spanish such as “grupo de cabildeo” o “grupo de presión” for lobby and “presionar” y “ejercer presión” for to lobby.

  1. Outsider

Outsider is one of those English political terms that has been appropriated for everyday use by the media in Spanish and also by native Spanish speakers, even in Latin America. Do a quick Google research and you will find original news articles in Spanish mentioning “outsider”. However, this is unnecessary as it can be accurately translated into Spanish as “candidato independiente” or “candidato alternativo”, “candidato externo”, “candidato sorpresa”. And, as Fundéu recommends, we can even reformulate the whole text with another expression or turn phrases when there is not a clear and direct alternative. Fundéu suggests “ajeno a”, “al margen de”, “de fuera de”, etc.

Translation Example:

English: “I am a little bit cautious about saying this is the year of the outsider and everything we thought we knew about primaries has to go out of the window…”, John Sides, George Washington University professor.

Spanish: “Soy un poco prudente para decir que este es el año del candidato independiente y que tiene que desecharse todo lo que creíamos que sabíamos sobre las elecciones primarias…”, John Sides, catedrático de la George Washington University.

Have you seen any other Election Year Words Often Poorly Translated Into Spanish? Which ones? Feel free to share!

Language Concepts Consulting is a boutique provider of multilingual translation services. Languages we translate from and into include: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and many more. We partner with organizations looking to penetrate and/or serve the multicultural markets in the USA, and Latin America. We provide native-quality and culturally-sensitive translations that get our client’s message across and resonates with their target audience.

For more information, please give us a call at 480.626.2926 or visit us atwww.languageconceptsllc.com.

 

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