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TIP #111 - This tip was sent on the week: 15th - 21th Oct, 2006

111 How to Translate "Last Few" and "Next Few" into Spanish - Part I

This tip applies to the following programs:

• ESI Professional

Faced with cases in which it is necessary to translate expressions such as 'We have been attending in the last few weeks, the first thing to discard is a literal translation. To say "Hemos estado asistiendo en las últimas pocas semanas" is not in agreement with the Spanish grammar; it is just not real Spanish.


Among the valid translations, you can find several options:


  1. Translate 'last few...' in the same way as if only 'last', i.e. using the adjective 'último', with no extra words.

    For instance:

    In the last few years there have been no earthquakes.

    'En los últimos años no ha habido terremotos'.

    In the last few days I have exercised.

    'En los últimos días me he ejercitado'.

  2. Whenever it is important to highlight the delimitative character attained in English
    by few, in Spanish you can reach a similar effect through the adverb 'más' followed by the adjective 'reciente';


    In the last few years that rumor has gone round.

    'En los años más recientes ha circulado ese rumor'.

    Marriage has downgraded in the last few centuries.

    'El matrimonio ha venido a menos en los siglos más recientes'.

    This construction is befitting to be applied to rather large time frames, such as 'centuries', 'semesters', 'months', and so on. Conversely, it does not perform very functionally for 'hours', 'minutes' or 'seconds'. In this case, it is always better the adjective 'último' used alone.

    For instance:

    For the last few minutes I have not moved away from the radio.

    'En los últimos minutos no me he despegado del radio'.

  3. It is also posible to set forth that idea by means of a construction which involves the
    verb 'acabar' + preposition 'de'.

    For instance:

    The weather has gotten quite better in the last few weeks.

    ‘El tiempo ha mejorado bastante en las semanas que acaban de pasar’.

  4. There is even another possibility: to render In the last few weeks... as 'En las semanas recién pasadas...'

We hope these remarks are of use for you.



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