Translating an English essay into Spanish may seem like a formidable task. You probably already know that just keying your essay into an internet translator probably isn't the best way to go about accomplishing this task since these translation tools ignore linguistic nuances and differences in grammar between the two languages. That being said, use of such a translation device in conjunction with other measures should yield a result in which you can take pride and that you will have no fear of showing to native Spanish speakers.
Type your entire essay into an online translator like Babelfish. A link to this site is provided in the resources section. When the essay is translated into Spanish, copy the translated essay into your word processor and save a copy of it the same way you have saved your original essay. This is not all you need to do in order to translate an essay, but it will give you an idea of how long your essay will be when translated into Spanish.
Consult a Spanish speaker. This can be either someone who is a native Spanish speaker or someone fluent in Spanish. The more Spanish this person knows, the better. Show this person your essay--both the English one and Spanish version you translated--and see if he or she is willing to fix any errors in grammar. It's best if you show this person hard copies so that he or she can write in any needed corrections. If you don't know anyone who speaks Spanish, you can hire someone to do this for you by posting a translation project on a site like Elance or Guru. Links to these sites are provided in the resources section.
Edit the Spanish version of your essay. Now that you know what changes to make in order for your essay to be properly translated, pull up the version you got from the online translation tool and make those changes. Save the new version of your translation.
Consult a native Spanish speaker. For any final revisions needed in your essay, you will need to get in touch with somebody whose native language is Spanish because he or she will be able to pick up on linguistic nuances that the first person you consulted may have missed. Even if the first person who worked on your translation was a native speaker, it's a good idea to get more than one perspective on a proper translation. Contacting Spanish teachers in your community is a good way to go about this.
Make final revisions. Go back and make any changes your final proofreader recommended for your essay. Now you have a translation good enough to stand under the critical scrutiny of a native Spanish speaker.
- Never trust Babelfish or another online translator as a foolproof tool.
Lester L'Fayette writes and teaches in Atlanta. As a developmental writing instructor at Atlanta Technical College, L'Fayette spends every waking moment either writing or helping others learn the craft.