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 TIP #211   This tip was sent on the week: May 31st- June 6 30th 2009

Tip #211 - Handling of Spanish Idioms

This Tip applies to all Word Magic products

Spanish, as well as English, has quite a variety of idioms, colloquial expressions, set phrases and nuances of speech which you can only learn in your day-to-day conversation with Spanish-speaking natives.  It would be a portentous, probably unending, task to set oneself to learning all those expressions by heart.

Just a few examples should suffice to point out that even the "same" expression has a totally different meaning when used, say, at the beginning of the sentence or in the middle of it.

The expression "a ver si" is one of those cases.  Let's examine the following two sentences:

1.  Prepararé la cena a ver si viene.  
2.  A ver si viene, la cena está lista!

On the Internet we find the following "free translations"

1.  I will prepare the dinner I hope it comes.
2.  I hope it comes, the dinner is ready!

Unfortunately, both translations miss the mark.  They do not convey the colloquial hue.

Word Magic Text Translator identifies the different context of these two sentences and translates thus:

1.  I will prepare dinner to see if he comes.
2.  We'll see if he comes, dinner is ready.

What happened here?  In one case, the colloquial expression "a ver si" was translated as "to see if".  In the second case, it was translated as "we'll see if".

This is what we call "context-sensitivity", an exclusive asset of Word Magic Software.  More examples to follow next week.

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