¡Yo tengo el poder!
by Marina Ilari
(Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
I recently saw a sign detailing instructions in case the power went off and it said "Si se corta el poder...".
At first I didn't understand what that meant, and felt like I was in a science fiction movie. As you probably know, in Spanish we use "se cortó la luz" or "se cortó la electricidad" to convey that; the word "poder" has only the abstract meaning of "control, dominance". It reminded me of the animated series "HE-MAN", where the main character used to say "I have the power" (¡Yo tengo el poder!).
I just thought it was a funny and ridiculous way of translating "power" into Spanish. I guess it can be a tricky word to translate for an English-speaking person, but if you translate it literally it has a totally different meaning in Spanish and it can lead to serious misunderstandings!