5 Spanish Sayings and Their English Equivalents

Great translation captures the true meaning of something in the target language while also keeping it accessible and relatable for the reader. This is especially true for Spanish sayings and their English equivalents!

One of my most popular blog posts has been about Spanish dichos, or sayings. A translation colleague recently presented about proverbs from around the world at the annual American Translators Association conference, and this inspired me to write another post with some useful Spanish sayings. Here are five, with their English equivalents:

  1. “A mal tiempo, buena cara.” Literally: “In bad weather, a good face.”

In English, we would say: “Put on a brave face.” We could also say: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

2. “Dios los cría, y ellos se juntan.” Literally: “God breeds them, and they flock together.”

In English, we would probably say: “Birds of a feather flock together.”

3. “A cada cerdo le llega su San Martín.” Literally: “Every pig has its Saint Martin.”

Some villages in Spain celebrate the feast of Saint Martin of Tours on November 11 by slaughtering a pig. An English equivalent would be “You reap what you sow” (no pun intended) or “What goes around, comes around.”

4. “A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.” Literally: “Don’t inspect the tooth of a gift horse.”

In English, we would say “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” or “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

5. “Aquel va más sano, que anda por lo llano.” Literally: “They who are healthiest walk on the plain.”

In English, we would say “Everything in moderation.”

As I finish up this post, we here in the U.S. are awaiting our presidential election results. Be kind to your American friends this week – we are on pins and needles!

Published by Alison Trujillo


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