Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gira a la derecha, mas adelante

Just about everyone has a GPS these days, and if you're serious about learning Spanish, you should be getting your directions in Spanish.

If you haven't changed the language on your GPS yet, today you're going to learn everything you need to know to get where you're going.  Break out your driving gloves boys and girls, it's time to go for a ride.

Here's a screen shot from the GPS on my phone, let's take a closer look at it.

 Let's start with the word bifurcación, which you'll find at the top of the picture where the directions start.

A  bifurcación  is a fork in the road. If you look at the picture closely you can even see the little arrows showing the fork in the highway.

Tome la izquierda cuando llegue a una bifurcación del camino
Go left when you get to the fork in the road

Next we get to:

Mantente a la derecha y sigue las indicaciones
Keep to the right and follow the signs

We need to take a closer look at the first part of this, Mantente a la derecha. To be specific, the verb mantenerse.

Mantenerse seems to be the verb of choice for my GPS.  Your GPS may prefer permanecer.

Permanece a la derecha
Keep to the right

Hold on, we're not done skinning this cat yet.  You have one more option:

Quédate a la derecha
Stay to the right

Your GPS might not use quedar, but it's certainly something you'll probably hear on the street and may even want to use yourself.  Here's another example for good measure.

Desde Tulum, quedar en el carril de la derecha
From Tulum, stay in the right lane

OK, let's move on.

Gira ligeramente a la izquierda hacia 85 North
Take a slight left towards 85 North

Hacia is the word you want when you need to talk about where your heading.

Voy hacia el sur
I'm going south

En lugar de irme a casa, voy hacia el restaurante
Instead of going home, I'm heading towards the restaurant

Also notice that the word North wasn't translated.  Your GPS might translate it so you may want to refresh your memory if those directions aren't already burned into your brain.

OK, we're still not there yet, so let's keep going.

Toma la salida 86 hacia 13 North, en dirección Buford Highway
Take exit 86 towards 13 North, towards Buford Highway

This is really pretty straight forward.  The only thing I want to touch on is en dirección.  En dirección is another way to say towards.   Here are some examples:

Voy en dirección a mi casa
I'm heading towards my house

Caminar hacia el norte en dirección a la Calle 55
Walk heading north towards 55th Street

Gire a la derecha en dirección al hotel Hilton
Turn right towards the Hilton hotel

Notice all of my examples used  en dirección a, while my GPS didn't use the "a".  I suspect that's a translation error on their part.  And finally we have:

Incorpórate a 13 North
Get on 13 North

Incorporarse is used to for taking/getting on the highway.

Desde Barcelona, incorpórate a la autopista y toma la salida 12
From Barcelona, get on the freeway and take exit 12

You may also hear carretera used for highway, and notice the use of tomar for taking the freeway.

Toma la carretera 880 rumbo al Norte
Take highway 880 going north

You may have noticed the word rumbo.  It's just another way to say which way you're headed.

Voy rumbo a casa de una amiga
I'm headed towards a friends house

Next we have the following:

Continúa durante 3,6 mi
Continue for another 3.6 miles

You may have noticed the "3,6".  In Spanish the comma is used instead of the decimal point, so don't let it confuse you.

And the part we've all been waiting for:

El destino está a la izquierda
Your destination is on the left

We need to talk to about one more thing that didn't show up on my GPS this time.

Sigue derecho
Keep straight

You may also hear the word recto for straight.  And remember, derecha is right while derecho is straight.  The first time I got directions while driving I nearly forgot this distinction, luckily my passenger got me straightened out in time.

Sigue recto
Keep straight

Lastly, let's look at the title of this entry.

Gira a la derecha mas adelante
Turn right further ahead

FYI, you can get your directions online in Spanish as well.  I use Google Maps with my language set to Spanish.  You'll see the same vocabulary used.

And that about wraps things up.   If I missed something, leave me a comment.

Espero que les sirva, ¡cuídense!


  1. Great blog, Rodney. I have copied it for my notebook.

    One question--I do not understand the accent mark here: Continuá durante 3,6 mi

  2. Thanks Harlan.

    You're confused because that's a typo. It should be continúa. Good catch!

  3. we laugh every time our gps says 'ligeramente'. Its not a word anyone i know would use giving directions