How Not to Learn Spanish

I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for almost 20 years. Of the seven words I know, four are swear words. So when I tell you how not to learn Spanish, you can take it to the bank.

I signed up for Carlos Muñiz’s RSS feed. It’s in Spanish. Every so often I open the next post and see if I can translate. I’m not very good. I’m also not sure I’m learning anything, but it’s kind of fun like a puzzle. Once I’ve completed my translation (with plenty of guessing), I go to translate.google.com and see how I did.

Post 4

Title: Escribir metros cuadrados con subíndice

DK: To write meters words with subscript

Google: Write square meters with subscript.

I’d like to think I would have got subíndice, but actually the picture helped me out. It didn’t help enough that I thought to look at what was in the cell, because I probably could have got cuadrados instead of punting and guessing it was something related to ‘word’. ‘Word’ is ‘palabra’. I told you my Spanish sucked.

Body: Para escribir metros cuadrados con subíndice es muy fácil del texto en la celda seleccionar sólo el número 2, pulsar click derecho del “mouse” ir a formato de celdas y en efectos seleccionar subíndice.

DK: To write square meters in subscript is very easy. In the cell select only the number two, click the right mouse button to go to cell formats and select subscript.

Google: To write sqm with subscript text easily select only the cell number 2, press right click the “mouse” go to format cells and select subscript effects.

I’m always inserting punctuation into Carlos’ sentences instead of trying to figure out what it really says – my ‘is very easy’ should be ‘easily’. And I glossed over ‘en efectos’ because I didn’t know what it meant. Now I see that the frame in the dialog is captioned Effects.

The posts are a reasonable length so it doesn’t take an hour to translate. And there’s usually a picture which provides some valuable clues. Plus I have a little domain knowledge, which I’m sure doesn’t hurt.

7 thoughts on “How Not to Learn Spanish

  1. Fantástico!
    As a native, I actually liked your second translation better than Google’s ;)

    I have used Excel in the past to learn languages, even created a workbook with a pinyin database and a bit of VBA to write the pinyin automatically as I type Chinese characters. But I never thought of learning Excel stuff in an different language! :D

  2. I would think “superscript” is the right way of doing it, but the Spanish version clearly says “subíndice” and not “superíndice”…

  3. O exemplo abaixo imprime na Janela de Verificação Imediata o texto Olá Mundo! 8 vezes:

    I know what it says, but some of the words trip me up.

    O exemplo = An example, for example, in this example
    abaixo = I want?
    Impreme = to print
    Janela de Verificacao Imediata – the window of immediate verification
    o texto Ola Mundo 8 vezes – the text ‘Hello World’ eight times.

  4. @rgor
    I actually started learning Excel at VBAExpress.com. In the beginning, all I wanted was to practice my english.

    @Dick
    Almost!
    O exemplo = The example
    abaixo = below
    Imprime = prints
    na Janela de Verificacao Imediata – in the immediate window
    o texto Ola Mundo 8 vezes – the text ‘Hello World’ eight times.

    About ‘Janela de Verificacao Imediata’
    This is the way Immediate Window was translated to pt-BR.
    Also, remember thant unlikely in english, portuguese and spanish put the adjectives before the noum.

    Dog – Cachorro
    Hot – Quente

    You write Hot Dog, but the translation in portuguese is not Quente Cachorro, but Cachorro Quente.

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