What are the main differences between French translation and Spanish translation?
To begin with, let’s talk about grammar. While in French there must always be an explicit subject, in Spanish there is not; this also happens in impersonal sentences such as “llueve”, which would be “il pleut”. On the other hand, there is the use of the simple past, which in French is limited to certain contexts such as literature or higher registers. In French, to narrate events that have occurred at a specific time in the past, the “passé composé” is used, which in Spanish is equivalent to the “pretérito perfecto compuesto”.
Spanish: El lunes fui al banco.
French: Lundi, je suis allé à la banque.
In this order of ideas, we also find a crucial difference in French translation, especially the inverse: the auxiliary verbs. In compound forms such as the aforementioned “passé composé”, two auxiliary verbs must be used in French depending on the verb or action they accompany. These are the verbs “être” and “avoir”, which would come to be “ser” or “estar”, and “haber” or “tener”.
Spanish: Salí de casa sin las llaves.
French: J’ai quitté la maison sans les clés. (Uses the verb “avoir”)
On the other hand, two common difficulties for Spanish speakers when learning French are the numbers and the pronunciation of silent letters. In French, the tens starting with sixty are combined with other numbers. For example, seventy would be “soixante-dix”, literally “sixty-ten”, and ninety-one would be “quatre-vingt-onze”, literally “four-twenty-eleven”. For its part, the problem of silent letters is coupled with major pronunciation differences such as the enormous number of vowel sounds and the difficult nasal and guttural sounds of French. The silent letters are usually found at the end of words and can be vowels or consonants; in the word “partie” the final “e” does not sound, and in the word “gris” the “s” does not sound.
Finally, we will talk about punctuation marks, which can be misleading when translating from French. If we are English or German speakers, we know that in exclamations and questions we should only write the closing sign, but something important that we should not copy are the spaces. Yes – in French there are extra spaces. This is something that you may not think to consider, but there are in fact some slight differences with punctuation marks. The signs ?, :, ;, !, and ” “, as well as others, must be separated by spaces from the letters.
Lesquels aimez vous : les chiens ou les chats ?
Les chiens !
« Pourvu qu’elle ne me téléphone pas », se dit-il
These and many other differences between Spanish and French pose a great challenge when it comes to transferring meanings from one language to the other while respecting the grammar and spelling of either language.
At Translinguo Global®, we are able to offer French to Spanish translation, as well as translation involving many other language pairs.