It is often said that English is a shorter and more direct language than Spanish. But it's true? The truth is that, as any freelance translator or one who works for a translation agency knows, when translating from English to Spanish, the text in Spanish is always longer. Specifically, translations from English to Spanish can be up to 15-30% longer than the original text, according to calculations made by the Globalization Group (we always refer to the number of words, which is like the price of a translation is normally calculated).
Added to this is the fact that, especially on the Internet and in less formal texts, but also in business English texts, it is quite common to use acronyms, acronyms, and abbreviations in English, which are not always easy to understand and adapt. To Spanish.
To avoid confusion, first clarify the differences, since they are not exactly the same:
English has many of these abbreviated expressions, commonly used in informal language and even in formal language.
If you don't want to get lost when you're using English at work or looking up information on the Internet, it's a good idea to know the most popular English abbreviations.
Let's look at some examples.
Recommended reading: How is business English different from normal English?
From the outset you should bear in mind that, when it comes to very formal communications (such as job messages, job applications, if you send your resume in English to a company, etc.) it is advisable to avoid shortcuts and write properly, that is,, using the full forms of the words.
Otherwise, your interlocutor may think that you are lazy or uneducated!
That said, when trust already exists, in emails and work documents it is common to find abbreviations in English that can be quite intriguing at first. Here is a list of some of the most used abbreviations in business English.
Do you know them?
AFAIK (as far as I know): literally, "as far as I know", it is used when you lack information on a topic or do not want to get wet expressing a categorical opinion.
AKA (also known as): it means "also known as" or "alias" in Spanish. For example, the singer Prince was once called TAFKAP, "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince."
ATTN (for the attention of): used in letters and emails.
ASAP (as soon as possible): means that something must be done or responded to as soon as possible. Very common in work emails, it becomes our “I need it by yesterday”.
BCC (blind copy to): when someone is blindly copied in an email. You have to be very careful with hidden copies of work messages: the devil loads them!
BTW (by the way): by the way, it is used to introduce a new topic in an irrelevant conversation. But if you say it this way it looks great and doesn't squeak your interlocutor so much.
CC (copy to): “with a copy to”, to indicate that someone is included in an email. You can also indicate that another recipient needs to be included when replying to the message.
DIY (do it yourself): do it yourself, it is a term from DIY that has spread.
EG (from the Latin exempli gratia): means "for example" and is used to give examples of what you say.
EOB (end of business day): a delivery term that refers to the end of the working day, which is usually earlier than in Spain. Sometimes the COB (close of business) variant is also used.
ITS T. (established): refers to the date on which a company, institution, etc. was founded.
ETA (estimated time of arrival): estimated time of arrival, is a term from the world of transport and logistics that is also used when talking about trips or shipments of goods.
FAQ (frequently asked questions): frequently asked questions, it is often used on web pages.
FYIO (for your information only): For your information only, it is often used in documents and mail.
IE (from the Latin id est): the English abbreviation for "that is", used to offer clarification.
JIC (just in case): just in case, another abbreviation that you will often find in work emails.
N/A (not available): the English equivalent to the Spanish “n/d” (not available).
OK: one of the most used, it is a deformation of the pronunciation of all right (all correct).
PS (postscript): equivalent to "PD" or postscript, when you add something to the end of a letter or message.
RSVP (from the French répondez s'il vous plaît): means "answer is requested" and is used in very formal contexts, for example an invitation to attend an event.
M(square meter): Abbreviation for square meter (m2) in English, although keep in mind that the British and North Americans do not use the metric system. They would say square feet or square mile.
TBC (to be confirmed): something that is yet to be confirmed, such as the date of an event. You can also use TBD (to be defined), which means pending definition or specification.
TBH (to be honest): To be honest, it's a way of shortening this frequently used expression.
WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get): what you see is what you get, refers to word processors, web page editors, etc. that show you the final result on the screen.
In any case, the most used abbreviations are also usually listed in English dictionaries.
Recommended reading: How to prepare a job interview in English.
In the field of informal communication (with friends, on social networks, etc.) there is much more flexibility. The use of the internet and mobile devices has given rise to a whole universe of abbreviations in English, in many cases devised in the first chats or forums in which words had to be saved due to slow page load speeds.
Some of these expressions have become popular and are widely known, others are only used in specific contexts. In the following video you can see examples of the most used informal abbreviations in English and below it you will find a selection of the most popular expressions in personal communication.
C&P (copy and paste): refers to the popular "cut and paste" command of computer programs.
CU (see you): informal way of saying "see you later" in a WhatsApp, tweet or short message.
EOD (end of discussion): end of the discussion, to definitively settle an exchange of messages.
GIYF (Google is your friend): Short for “Google is your friend”, meaning Google it instead of asking.
HF (have fun): have fun, a way to save five letters to wish someone to have fun.
IDK (I don't know): I don't know, although the recipient may not know what you mean.
ILU / ILY (I Love You): means "I love you". You can also use IMU (I Miss You), "I miss you".
IOW (in other words): in other words, to clarify or explain something you have said and it is not understood.
J/K (just kidding): it was a joke, it is used to imply that what you said before was not serious.
LOL (laugh out loud): I laugh out loud, it is used when something is funny (or also ironically).
LMAO (laughing my ass off): a more rude variant of the above, which means "I break the c… of laughter").
MTFBWY (may the force be with you): may the force be with you, an abbreviation only suitable for Star Wars fans.
MYOB (mind your own business): literally, "mind your own business" or stay out of business.
NP (no problem): no problem, to confirm when something is OK or you don't care.
OT (off topic): off topic, to indicate that something is irrelevant or not related to the subject.
OMG (Oh my God): Oh my God, it is used to say that something is surprising.
You can also use the ruder WTF (what the fuck, what the hell).
PLS (please): Informal abbreviation for "please", to use in personal messages and emails.
SFLR (sorry for late reply): to say that you are sorry for taking so long to reply to a message.
TBC (to be continued): will continue, when a conversation or an issue is not completely closed.
It can also be used at the end of a page to indicate that the document continues on the next.
THX (thank you): abbreviation for “thank you”, to end a message in a laconic way.
TMI (too much information): too much information, when someone gives personal details or that you don't want to know.
TTYL (talk to you later): we talk later, if a conversation is taking too long.
TYT (take your time): take your time, it means that an urgent response is not required.
YMMD (you made my day): it means that "you made my day" for good news or the like.
XOXO (hugs and kisses): this expression is used to send kisses and hugs, although it sounds strange in Spanish.
So far we have seen some of the most used English abbreviations in emails, text messages and social networks.
However, the rise of mobile devices has caused some users, especially if they are young, to look for more extreme ways to save themselves from typing a few letters.
It is no longer about abbreviations, acronyms or acronyms, but about imaginative ways of representing words or even entire sentences in the minimum number of characters.