Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Sometimes I find myself speaking in Spanglish (a mix of Spanish and English) because I feel like it´s not horribly misunderstood. Sometimes I don´t even make an effort to translate some words because I feel like people will know what I am talking about.

 For example, there are commercials on TV that don´t have Spanish narration or subtitles. They are just plain old English. In my favorite Spanish magazine (which is called “WOMAN”, not mujer) uses Spanglish all the time. The writers don´t translate a ton of things, like “es tu mejor LOOK del año!” when talking about the best fashion look of the year. This magazine, I swear, is about 5% in English, even though it´s for Spanish speakers and it is written/published in Barcelona.

 Movie titles are not always translated. Yes, many are. I already mentioned Criadas y Señoras was the title here for the movie “The Help. But that new movie with Justin Timberlake? Called In Time? Guess what it´s called here? In Time. Yes, the people say it with an accent, but they say it in English. I guess if it is simple enough, they don´t bother to translate it. But you can bet that they will dub it. They always dub movies.

 This next one makes more sense since some of the kids go to English schools (the teachers are usually British, and they teach in English the entire time except for 2 hours of Spanish grammar each week). However, Dani and Lucas are in pre-pre-pre school at age two, and the teachers there teach in Spanish. If the kids behave well all day, they have this reward system where the kids can get a smiley face stamp on their hand. When Lucas or Dani comes home, their moms ask them if they got a “Happy Face” today. Yes, they call it a Happy Face. “Has ganado un Happy Face hoy?” They´ll say. And those are the kids that attend SPANISH school.

 There are things that aren´t translated that you think would be. One of my coworkers has an automated voice instead of a ring tone on her office phone. So when someone calls her, instead of hearing a ring, she hears, “YOU´VE GOT A CALL FROM...THREE...ZERO...ZERO...FIVE.” And she is a Spaniard.

 My office phone buttons also has English buttons. It says “hold” “transfer” “conference” and “speaker.” Actually, when it comes to appliances in general, I feel like they are in English. Not all, but some.

So Spaniards might say they can´t understand your English, but they sure know how to “defrost a pizza” or microwave their rice on “high power.”

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