No translation, it is what it is

One of the fun challenges of this project is that some words that describe a dish in Spain simply have no translation to English, or, if the dish is well-known just have the Spanish word used in English, e.g. paella and gazpacho – these are common enough to just be known by the Spanish word in any English menu.

But, what about dishes that are less well known? Eventually I expect to compile a list of these (as one of my reference pages) because there is no translation into English, just an explanation of what the dish is you’ll just have to know.

So, while probing the mysteries of the online dictionary I found (which more and more doesn’t look to be specific to Spain even though I found it on a website in Spain) I encountered this:

FIDEUA – FIDEUÀ Plato semejante a la paella hecho con fideos en lugar de arroz. Paella-like dish made with noodles instead of rice.

Initially I was interested in this entry in the dictionary due to the two different spellings, as a potential clue to how this dictionary applies. I’d already encountered this in this dictionary having an entry “FRÉJOLFRIJOL” and learning that fréjol is primarily used in South American countries, not Spain (in fact, is frijol itself used in Spain or is it judía (not judia, accent is critical) or alubia? – all these are some sort of ‘bean’). Thus, perhaps, this dictionary is not only not Spain-specific but it may contain words not commonly used in Spain and/or that have a different meaning in Spain.

Anyway back to fideuà. This was an easy one to track down (relative to the main topic of this post). As good as anything else is this information from Wikipedia:

Fideuà (dialectal pronunciation of the Valencian/Catalan word fideuada “large amount of noodles”) is a seafood dish originally from the coast of Valencia which is similar to paella, and even more to arròs a banda, but with noodles instead of rice. Its main ingredients are: pasta noodles (usually hollow), fish (rockfish, monkfish, cuttlefish, squid), and shellfish (Squilla mantis, shrimp, crayfish). It is seasoned mainly with lemon.

and this source ( is very helpful (assuming it’s correct and it seems to be in casual reading) at explaining the difference.

So an interesting question (for me) is how to handle this kind of “word” in both my lists and then in software? It’s not a term that translates so what should I say in the translation?

btw: My attempt to understand the translation provided exposed me to the interesting phrase,  en lugar de (instead of) which is one point of doing all this tedious work, i.e. I’m learning some Spanish by seeing how words are used (now can I remember any of it?)


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