Discover the Best of Baja...

But... it's in Spanish

Many of us who live in Baja do not speak Spanish, or speak it poorly.  

Most signs, invoices, utility bills, labels on products in the stores, menus and websites of interest are in Spanish.  

What strategies can we use to help us?

As Señora Adora, who speaks Spanish, cattily stated, the best computer translators would be roughly equal to C grade work in school.  With that in mind, it sure seems better than an F.  So, keep in mind these strategies are not perfect, though they are far better than nothing and they are getting better every day.

  • Google Translate - if you are at home with your computer, then try Google Translate.  It is a free translation service.  You can enter, or copy and paste, text into the from text box, select English to Spanish, and the Spanish appears on the right side.  There is a small speaker icon that will appear on both sides, after a few seconds, that will actually speak the words for you to help you learn pronunciation  Switch the translation to Spanish to English to translate into English.  You can also enter, or copy and paste, the URL address of a website and Google Translate will translate that page.  Keep in mind, it can only translate text on webpages, so if the text is part of an image, it will not be translated.  Google Translate also has free apps for Android and iPhone to carry with you (Internet connection is required to use the apps).  These apps have an option for the from text to be spoken into the phone in Spanish to be translated into English text.
  • Google Chrome Browser - the Google Chrome Browser works on Mac and PC.  It automatically translates websites into English.  Keep in mind, it can only translate text on webpages, so if the text is part of an image, it will not be translated.
  • Smartphone English/Spanish Dictionary - what about those times in a restaurant or supermarket where you don't have your computer, or internet access?  There are dictionaries for smartphones or tablets that contain all the dictionary entries and store them on your device as part of the app, so no internet connection is required.  One example is Collins Spanish-English Translation Dictionary and Verbs with 100,000 words.  No internet connection is required to use it.
  • Spanish for Dummies - the paperback book Spanish for Dummies was one of the first resources for Señor Sabrosisimo when he started to learn Spanish (still very bad at it).  The book was even instrumental in how Sabrosisimo got that name, but that's another story.  It covers the basics in easy to understand terms and is a good starting point for learning the basics.
  • 501 Spanish Verbs - one major challenge for English speakers learning Spanish is the many verb conjugations.  501 Spanish Verbs is a resource to help learn and use verbs in the proper tense and person.
  • Take a class or join a study group - there are many options available for learning Spanish either in a formal class or in a less formal study group.  Ask around or look in the papers for info.
  • Trying is usually better than not - many times the other person is as or more insecure about their English skills as you may be about your Spanish.  Saying "Lo siento, mi español es muy malo."  (Click the link for English translation and then click the speaker icon, which might take a second to appear, to hear how it's pronounced.) is frequently responded with "Mi ingles tambien." (My English is too.) and the barriers to communication are lowered a bit.

 

 

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