by Kim Mandel

As I previously mentioned, false friends are words that look the same, but have different meanings. Translators must be aware of them when working on a text.

Otherwise, the translation will not accurately reflect the meaning of the original text. Here are a few examples: BILLION A billion in English is mil millones in Spanish. John has a billion dollars. Juan tiene mil millones de pesos. BOMBER Bomber in English can mean a person who plants a bomb, while bombero in Spanish is a fireman. The bomber was killed in the blast. El bombero luchó contra las llamas. ENVY Envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. However, enviar in Spanish means to send. She envies her sister who is prettier. Por favor, enviar estos papeles al jefe. EMPRESS Empress is the feminine equivalent of an emperor. While the word empresa has a totally different meaning in Spanish. It’s a company or enterprise. Catherine the Great was a famous Russian Empress. Coca Cola es una empresa conocida mundialmente. FABRIC In English fabric means material. However, fábrica in Spanish means a factory. Silk is a luxurious fabric. Su familia es dueña de una fábrica de ropa. GROCERY Grocery means a store where food is sold. But grosería has a totally different meaning in Spanish: gross or crude. I like shopping at the small grocery store in my neighborhood. Me dijo una grosería y no me ofendí. MANTEL In English, mantel is a shelf above a fireplace. But the Spanish word mantel means a tablecloth. The house has a stone mantel. Por favor, poner el mantel a la mesa. LARGE Large in English means big. But largo in Spanish is long. Large dogs scare me. Fue un discurso largo.