Posted by: janecronin | May 6, 2012

Spanish and English translations – Euphemisms

Last September there was a “huelga general” in Spain (there has been another one since as well) and as someone who on that particular day was exercising my right to work, I was driving along as usual listening to all the updates on the radio.  There was a lot of talk about “piquetes informativos” (pickets there to give information only) and whether they were doing their job correctly or not.  In other words whether they were merely being informative or in some cases, intimidating.  The word “informativo” did not please one of the speakers who said “piquetes informativos – ¡ja! eso es un cuento de la China”!    This roughly translates as “informative pickets – what a load of rubbish! (literally “that’s a story from China”)

As some of you may remember, around the same time there were some violent disturbances in Barcelona, not involving workers and pickets, but involving some “anti-sistema” protesters.  Despite the serious of these events, what I  liked about the description given on the radio of these individuals was that they had “estética okupa”.  In English the equivalent would be that they “looked like squatters”, but literally it means they had “squatters’ aesthetics” – much more politely put!



  1. Should read, “Despite the seriousness”.

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