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#181899 11/07/08 08:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 38
venture Offline OP
I may go to Mexico on a job and need to speak spanish. I know some spanish, but is there a place that would have electrical terms I could study? Thanks for any help.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
A visit to any Home Depot store in the San Diego area is bound to have the signs printed in both Spanish and English.

Most of the labeling that accompanies the materials are bilingual, too.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
The real trick is to work with some bi-lingual electricians and get what the common "trade" language is for things.
I have done this quite a bit on the "concreto" side of the business (in my projects around the house) and I function quite well with those guys.
The problem you may have in Mexico will be that you could run into people who speak zero english ... unless they worked here and went home because that was where el trabajos were

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
I'll tell you one thing ..... BE CAREFULL

In English, we turn something of by opening the circuit.

In Spanish, they turn something ON by "opening" it.

We 'turn on' the light. They 'open' the light.

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
Originally Posted by venture
I may go to Mexico on a job and need to speak spanish. I know some spanish, but is there a place that would have electrical terms I could study? Thanks for any help.

Man, you live in Southern California and you aren't already fluent? How do you manage to order fast food? Maybe you will get lucky and find that their job sites are overrun by English-speaking tradesmen.

Sorry for the jab, but you do have a legitimate question and I feel for you. My suggestion would be to befriend someone in the trade who actually does speak Spanish and see if they can get you going with a jump start. Best wishes, amigo.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
Oddly enough, I have yet to run into a Spanish-as-a-first-language electrician here in Southern Cali. I picked up most of my Spanish from masons, rockers, laborers, etc.

This means that, although I have very little Spanish to help in the electrical trade, I can however get kicked out of any Spanish speaking church in the world smile

I'm sure that if you take a class on Spanish, with a human instructor, you can inquire as to the specifics related to the electrical trade and the "way of things". I bet if you present specific questions, a competent instructor will find out what you need to know.

Good Luck!

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
Around here a spanish speaking electrician will usually be Cuban. They have a subtly different dialect than Mexicans and most speak fluent english since they grew up in the US as a general rule ... even if it was Miami where the street signs are in espanol.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 81
One interesting thing is that the language as spoken in Mexico does not (to the best of my knowledge) have different words for "electrician" versus "power company lineman". Both trades are referred to as "electricistas"; the distinction has to be determined from the context.

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 301
Our community college offers spanish classes just for construction. Things like giving work direction and measurements etc....

They also have a general (everyday) spanish and a two year program.

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