A fascinating new dictionary has recently been published to reflect current usage of Anglicisms in spoken and written Spanish in the United States. Entries include crashear, ringuear and enjoyar; tícher, dedlain and muvi. How might the Diccionario de anglicismos del español estadounidense help a Spanish to English translator?
The Dictionary of Anglicisms of US Spanish (Diccionario de anglicismos del español estadounidense, DAEE) is clearly a descriptive rather than a prescriptive dictionary. The editor, Francisco Moreno-Fernández (Executive Director of the Instituto Cervantes at Harvard, Observatory of the Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures in the United States) explains in the preface that he has included words that have “established, through use itself, a certain continuity, and which appear to have become consolidated or stabilized”.
Moreno-Fernández focuses on Spanish in the United States, so excludes words in generalised use in other Spanish-speaking countries. He has drawn on similar dictionaries published to date; online sources; two corpora coordinated by the Real Academia Española, Twitter posts since 2016; a national lexical survey of 40 common Anglicisms in Spanish in the United States; and experts’ contributions.
The DAEE currently has some 1000 entries and definitions – some with a usage map – and is available as a static PDF file. In the future, it will be updated and made accessible in a dynamic online format.
The DAEE is a good example of how language usage evolves over time, in a society where Spanish and English are spoken side by side in many contexts. No doubt people in the US will be familiar with many of these expressions. For someone tuned into Spanish on the other side of the pond, however, the DAEE has many surprises and is fun to browse. I came across some real eye-openers:
llamar para atrás
False friends no longer false?
An unsuspected, knock-on effect of the DAEE is that some Spanish-English words hitherto considered “false friends” can now be classified as true cognates. Here are some examples of US Spanish-English words listed as cognates in the DAEE:
|introducir||to introduce s.o.|
The case of US Spanish to English back translations
“No hesite en hacer cualquier pregunta”
“Puede que necesite un tiempo fuera del trabajo”
As a back translator, I’m sometimes faced with a literal translation done by a forward translator who simply wants to ensure the back translator will produce the original English wording. This defeats the point of the exercise, but it happens.
While I’d definitely flag the above sentences and suggest an alternative if the text were for Spain, I’m not so confident when back translating US Spanish. And in the case of multinational trials, patient-facing documents such as informed consent forms (ICFs) are often translated into US Spanish as well as other Spanish variants.
Last year, I collected many examples of unidiomatic Spanish encountered in forward translations for a presentation at METM17. I can cross some of those examples off the list now thanks to this new resource, the DAEE, which identifies Anglicisms that are in common use in US Spanish. No longer do I need to flag them as awkward, literal or Spanglish. Or do I?
¿Un diccionario reliable?
If you’re a native Spanish medical translator and live in the US, I’d love to hear what you think of the DAEE and whether you use these terms in patient-facing documentation.
Please fill in this 2-question survey about the DAEE in the context of real-life examples of US Spanish ICFs.
In a nutshell, my question is, do these Anglicisms pass muster in an informed consent?
- El apartado abajo no aplica si usted ya ha recibido el medicamento
- Firmar este consentimiento no es mandatorio
- No hesite en hacer cualquier pregunta
- Podrá remover el parche al llegar a casa
- Puede que necesite un tiempo fuera del trabajo
- Puede usted refusar de participar
- Recibirá una inyección en el lado opósito
- Si no le cubre su plan médico, el patrocinador pagará cualquier gasto
- Si tiene usted un cuidador que le soporte en las actividades diarias
- Tendrá que completar un cuestionario sobre sus síntomas
h/t @navarrotradmed for the news about the DAEE.