A false cognate is a word that looks or sounds the same in two languages, but has very different meanings in each. Spanish and English have a lot of real cognates—park/parque, market/mercado and family/familia to name a few. While that can make learning new words in Spanish easy at times, it also makes it far too easy to fall into the false cognate trap. Inexperienced translators or online translation services can be some of the biggest violators.
Looks like the English word “exit,” doesn’t it? It actually means “success.” Exitoso/a means successful. The correct word for “exit” in Spanish is salida.
If you say estoy embarazada intending to say that you’re embarrassed, prepare to truly get red in the face. Embarazada actually means pregnant. So estoy embarazada means “I’m pregnant.” Now you might need the phrase tengo vergüenza (I’m embarrassed).
The Spanish word molestar and the English word “molest” share the same roots, but their everyday meanings are quite different. While “molest” in English has negative and perverse connotations, molestar in Spanish simply means “to bother.”
It’s important to remember that recordar doesn’t mean record, it means “to remember.” Recuerdo means “I remember.” Another way to say I remember is me acuerdo, not to be confused with de acuerdo which means “I agree.” The word for recording a video or audio file is grabar.
No, it doesn’t mean “to grab.” It means to record.
There are many more false cognates that can easily make your content confusing, unprofessional or just laughable if they mistakenly used. Native Spanish speakers with experience in content creation is your best defense.