Land vehicles

low rider

Each language and regions names vehicles differently. My first exposure to multiple vehicle types came from over-the-telephone interpreting. The challenge appeared with what may sound a simple word to translate: car. People from Puerto Rico mentioned gua gua for their rides. Folks from Mexico and Guatemala used different terms for the same vehicle.



If you interpret for workers compensation claims, what is the word for a small platform on wheels used for holding heavy objects? A dolly. Is a dolly a hand truck?  A dolly is defined as a platform with four wheels and two axles. A hand truck can slide underneath the item while on the ground. The worker then has to lift whatever is transported onto a dolly. Perhaps the injured worker tripped while transporting goods from one end of the factory to the other or strained his back when lifting heavy objects. Each one is different.




I am a healthcare interpreter with Akron Children’s Hospital and stumbled during a child’s occupational therapy evaluation. A parent explained how his little bruiser loved to careen around the kitchen in his araña. What? A spider? After a clarification from dad I figured out Vicente moved about in a “walker”, or andador. Have you had similar challenges?


I send a list of land vehicles for research. One method is to create a table in your word processing program with four columns: source language, target language, sentence and source. Tailor the list to meet your needs. Happy travels!

Land vehicles




Published by The Interpreter Fellow

I am an Ohio State Certified Court Interpreter and Certified Healthcare Interpreter in Spanish. MA Translation from The Institute for Applied Linguistics at Kent State University. Currently I serve Akron Children's Hospital Pediatrics and local courts.

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Liam O'Dell

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