Les Intraduisibles: English-Spanish


have / have-not
The distinction between haves and have-nots is not an academic distinction. Political science frames class cleavages in other terms, such as workers versus capitalists, lower, middle, and upper classes, the poor versus the rich, winners versus losers. Common language, however, expresses differential access to material goods in a simple, but admiringly precise way: the haves versus the have-nots. A similar distinction exists in German: die Wohlhabenden versus die Habenichtse. In Spanish, no literal translation is available: los pobres, la gente humilde, los marginados allude to similar realities, but with different connotations. For instance, the boundary between poor and rich does not coincide with the dividing line between haves and have-nots: The haves, while not destitute, are not necessarily rich. The closest equivalent in Spanish is the idea of people in need: la gente necesitada, los que no tienen, la gente sin recursos.

Schedler Andreas 3/8/2002