4 common English mistakes a non-native translator usually makes when translating English into Spanish
Most of the times, translators who are not native Spanish speakers, or who do not speak Spanish perfectly, make mistakes in their translations. The most common English mistakes are the following:
Confusion with English-Spanish cognates
Cognates are those words which are written and pronounced similarly in different languages and mean the same thing. However, there are false cognates too. Since both Spanish and English have many words that come from Latin, it’s very common that similar words have similar meanings. But that is not always the case, and that may result in inaccurate translations. For example, the word “embarrassed” sounds similar to “embarazada” (which means pregnant). As you can see, they are completely different things, and mixing them up could lead to an inaccurate translation.
Confusion with English-Spanish subject
Except in a very few cases, every English sentence needs a subject. Spanish is different. In Spanish, the subject is understood by the context and is normally omitted. And for non-native Spanish translators this could be tricky. In Spanish, adding a pronoun (subject) isn’t grammatically wrong, but most of the times sounds redundant and many translators are not able to notice it.
Wrong use of prepositions
In English-Spanish translations, the use of prepositions can be extremely tricky for a translator who does not have an advanced level of Spanish. If you plan on translating into Spanish and you are not native, learning the use of prepositions by heart may help you. It would make you avoid some common mistakes such as translating “I’m thinking about you” as “pienso acerca de ti”. The right way would be “pienso en ti”. There’s no way of guessing what the right preposition is, only learning them by heart.
Imitating the structure of English sentences
Normally, imitating the structure of English sentences when translating into Spanish (except placing adjectives before the noun they’re describing) does not make a sentence incorrect. But be careful! As your level of Spanish increases, you’ll start paying attention to how many times the subject is placed after the verb. The way in which you arrange the words in a sentence can frequently change its meaning and the accuracy of your translations.