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Valer la Pena and Probar: Trying to be worthwhile

 

Vale la pena explicar que... hemos tratado lo más posible de no dañar la ecología.

[Caption 1, Javier Marin > Artesano Venezolano > Part 2]

 

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Venezuelan artisan Javier Marin tells us right away that he and his fellow jewelry makers are not damaging sea creatures when they make their pretty shell necklaces to sell on the beach. In this video clip, Javier's opening sentence begins: Vale la pena explicar que... A literal translation might begin: "It's worth the trouble to explain that..." Or, more simply: "It's worth explaining that..." 

 

Vale la pena recordar la frase "vale la pena"

It's worthwhile remembering the phrase "vale la pena"

 

Later in the same sentence, we translate: "... we have tried to do everything possible not to damage the ecology." The verb tratar can mean "to treat" or "to try [to do something]" / [de hacer algo]). But note that there's another way to say "to try" in Spanish: probar. Here's how to differentiate the two:

 

Probar usually means "to try" in the sense of "to taste" or "to test." To try on clothing in a store, you use the reflexive probarse [probarse la ropa en una tienda]. 

 

Ay, no sé cómo detener esta máquina, voy a probar con el botón azul.

"Oh, I don´t know how to stop this machine, I´ll to try pressing the blue button."

 

Tratar [de] is usually used more in the sense of "to intend to" or "to attempt to." For example:

 

Tratamos de explicar el sentido de la palabra.

"We tried to explain the sense of the word."

 

Es bastante testarudo pero igual voy a tratar de convencerlo.

"He is quite stubborn but still I'll try to persuade him."

 

Of course, tratar means "to treat" too:

 

Cada vez que vamos a visitarlos nos tratan como reyes/ nos tratan de maravillas.

"Every time we go to visit them, they treat us as royalty/ wonderfully."

 

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 And tratar [con] "to deal [with]". For example:

 

No quiero ni tratar con esa clase de gente.

"I don't even want to deal with those people."

 

Expressions

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