Translated Materials

Note: This page contains references to some links which are only accessible by HHS staff. For more information, email the HHSC Office of Communications.

Under federal and state laws, HHS must provide meaningful access to programs, services and activities to people with limited English proficiency. All client and public materials, including webpages, should be written in plain language and translated into Spanish.


  • Create client or public-facing materials in both English and Spanish.
  • Use two-sided "flip" materials that have English on one side and Spanish on the other when possible.
    • Ensures updates to one language are made to both.
    • Eliminates the possibility of running out of materials in one language.
  • Maintain the same layout and photos for English and Spanish, even if materials are separate.
  • Request translation of comments you add to a form or form letter for a Spanish-speaking reader.
  • Add Spanish subtitles to videos or recreate the video in Spanish when possible.
  • Ensure websites for clients (especially those linked in printed materials) also have a Spanish counterpart. Spanish URLs for the main HHS site begin with


  • Do not include Spanish side-by-side with English unless both languages can be given equal weight and treatment without confusing the reader.
    • Limit side-by-side translations to single page items such as posters or monitor slides, which have a clear reading order.
  • Do not translate only part of the text or include phrases such as "Se habla Español" or "Hablamos Español."
  • Do not translate logos. Use existing Spanish logos if program logo use has already been approved by your agency's communications office.
  • Do not create separate materials for English and Spanish unless there is a programmatic reason or the length of the material does not lend itself to a two-sided "flip" structure.
  • Do not translate event materials unless an interpreter will be available at the event.
  • Do not use translations from online software or agency staff outside of HHS Translation Services.

HHS staff can learn more about HHS Translation Services on the HHS Connection.

HHS Spanish Key Terms
EnglishSpanishNotes and Examples
abuse (noun) (of a child)maltrato o abuso

When the type of abuse is unknown or unspecified, use maltrato o abuso as a generic couplet.

If the abuse is known to be physical or psychological, but not sexual, maltrato is the appropriate term.

Note that abuso carries a connotation of sexual abuse.

abuse or neglect (noun) (of a child)
  • maltrato
  • abuso o negligencia
See abuse (noun). Maltrato and abuso are both needed to encompass the general meaning of abuse.
abused (an abused child)víctima de maltrato o abuso

Since abusar is an intransitive verb, niño abusado is grammatically incorrect. A correct reformulation would be niño víctima de abuso.

If the abuse is known to be physical or psychological in nature, but not sexual, niño maltratado is a correct expression.

See abuse (noun).

affidavitdeclaración jurada 
Alzheimer's (disease)
  • el alzhéimer
  • la enfermedad de Alzheimer
  • el mal de Alzheimer

When it stands alone as the name of the illness, alzhéimer becomes a common noun in Spanish and, as such, is written in lowercase and subject to the rules of accentuation.

When preceded by la enfermedad or el mal, Alzheimer is considered a proper noun of foreign origin and, as such, is uppercased and written with no accent mark.

application (to receive benefits, to participate in an event, etc.)solicitudAvoid aplicación in this context.
application formsolicitudAvoid the unnecessarily wordy formulario de solicitud.
apply (apply for benefits)
  • solicitar
  • presentar una solicitud
Avoid aplicar in this context.
Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs)agencias regionales para adultos mayores (AAA)In running text, use the feminine article before the initials: las AAA; la AAA del condado de Travis.
  • ayudar
  • atender
In general, avoid asistir in this context.
Austin State Hospital (ASH)Hospital Estatal de Austin (ASH)In running text, use the masculine article before the initials: el ASH.
best interest (in the child’s best interest)interés superior (del menor)

Example wordings:

  • que corresponde al interés superior del menor.
  • que redunda en el interés superior del menor.
  • que responde al interés superior del menor.
  • teniendo en cuenta el interés superior del menor.
business daysdías hábiles 
cervical cancercáncer de cuello uterino 
checkupchequeoFor the regular medical and dental checkups provided as part of Texas Health Steps, chequeo is the preferred term over examen.
child abusemaltrato o abuso infantilSee abuse (noun).
Child Protective Services (CPS)Servicios de Protección al Menor (CPS)In running text, no preceding article is used: las normas de Servicios de Protección al Menor, las normas de CPS.
child supportmanutención infantil 
children (minors)
  • menores
  • niños y adolescentes
  • niños

Children is sometimes equivalent to niños, but not always. Note that niño is technically defined as a child who has not yet reached puberty.

A 16-year-old, therefore, is not a niño or niña. Legislation on child protection in Mexico, for example, refers consistently to niños and adolescentes together and specifically defines niño as a child under the age of 12.

children (sons and daughters)hijos

In the context of a parent-child relationship, hijo is the appropriate term, not niño.

Thus, when addressing parents about your children, the better choice is sus hijos, as opposed to sus niños.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)Programa de Seguro Médico para Niños (CHIP)In running text, no article is needed before the initials: miembros de CHIP.
client (of a program or service)
  • beneficiario
  • usuario

In general, avoid cliente in this context. For example:

  • Medicaid client: beneficiario de Medicaid.
  • Is your child a CHIP client?: ¿Recibe su hijo beneficios de CHIP?
Compact with TexansCompromiso con los texanosUse italics or quotation marks to set off from surrounding text.
complete (a form)llenarAvoid completar in this context.
concern (noun)
  • preocupación, problema, duda
  • asunto, tema
In general, avoid inquietud in the context of a problem or issue that someone might need to discuss or address with staff.
condition (medical)
  • afección
  • padecimiento
Avoid condición in this context.
consent formconsentimientoAvoid the unnecessarily wordy formulario de consentimiento.
date processedfecha de tramitación 
  • plazo
  • fecha límite
defendant (in a civil case)
  • demandado
  • parte demandada
defendant (in a criminal case)acusado 
denial (of benefits)denegación 
denial noticeaviso de denegación 
Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)Departamento de Servicios para la Familia y de Protección (DFPS)In running text, use the masculine article before the initials: el DFPS.
Department of State Health Services (DSHS)Departamento Estatal de Servicios de Salud (DSHS)In running text, use the masculine article before the initials: el DSHS.
  • determinación
  • decisión
  • dictamen
  • conclusión
disenrolldar de baja 
district attorney's officeFiscalía 
doctor (as a synonym of "physician”)médicoUse doctor or doctora in Spanish only as a title preceding someone's name: el doctor Morales, la doctora Sandoval.
drug abuseabuso de drogas 
drug testprueba de detección de drogas 
drug useconsumo de drogasAvoid uso in this context.
durable power of attorney for health carepoder notarial permanente para asuntos médicos 
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)Intervención Temprana en la Infancia (ECI)In running text, no article is used before the initials: el personal de ECI.
elderlyadultos mayores 
eligibilitySee eligible.

Avoid elegibilidad, which has a much narrower meaning than eligibility. See eligible.

Eligibility requirements: requisitos (de acceso, de participación).

To find out if you are eligible: para saber si reúne los requisitos, para saber si puede acceder a … , para ver si tiene derecho a …

eligibility officeoficina de verificación de requisitos 
  • que reúne los requisitos (para … )
  • que tiene derecho a …
  • que puede acceder a …
  • que puede recibir …

Avoid elegible in Spanish, which has a much narrower meaning than eligible in English.

In most cases, there is no functional one-word equivalent for eligible in Spanish, and a contextually appropriate workaround must be found.

fair hearingaudiencia imparcial 
family-based servicesservicios para la familia 
Federal Poverty Level
  • línea federal de pobreza
  • línea de pobreza establecida por el Gobierno federal
The Federal Poverty Level is the income level designated by the federal government as the poverty line for a given family size.
form (which one fills out)formularioSee application form and consent form.
foster care
  • acogida (de menores)
  • sistema de acogida (de menores)
  • situación de acogida
  • régimen de acogida (de menores)

A child in foster care: un menor en situación de acogida.

To place the child in foster care: remitir al menor al sistema de acogida.

foster childmenor en situación de acogida 
foster homehogar de acogida 
foster parentpadre de acogida 
group health planplan médico de grupo 
group skills trainingcapacitación en grupo 
Health and Human Services (HHS)Salud y Servicios Humanos (HHS)In running text, no article is needed before the initials: los programas de HHS.
Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)Comisión de Salud y Servicios Humanos (HHSC)In running text, use the feminine article before the initials: la HHSC.
health careatención médica 
health care services
  • servicios médicos
  • servicios de salud
health planplan médico 
Healthy Texas WomenHealthy Texas WomenThe name of this program is not translated. If needed, it can be couched in explanatory wording to help provide context for monolingual readers: el programa Healthy Texas Women.
hearing loss
  • pérdida auditiva
  • pérdida de audición
  • pérdida de la capacidad auditiva
hearing-impairedcon problemas auditivos 
high school(escuela) preparatoria 
  • línea (de ayuda)
  • línea telefónica
Avoid línea directa in this context.
House Bill XYZ
  • ley XYZ de la Cámara de Diputados
  • proyecto de ley XYZ de la Cámara de Diputados
The translation will depend on whether the term refers to a state law already in effect (ley) or a bill not yet passed (proyecto de ley).
immigration statusestatus migratorio 
individual (noun)
  • persona
  • beneficiario
  • usuario
  • interesado
Avoid individuo.
individuals with disabilitiespersonas con discapacidad 
  • bebé
  • lactante
Avoid infante, which is a false cognate.
intermediate careatención intermedia 
juvenile (adjective)de menores

Juvenil, as the Spanish adjective associated with joven, would also include young adults (see youth).

Juvenile in English tends to be used in the context of the criminal justice system for underage offenders (under 18). Juvenile court, for example, would be tribunal de menores.

juvenile (noun or adjective)
  • menor
  • de menores
Avoid juvenil. See juvenile (adjective).
Lone Star cardtarjeta Lone Star 
long-term care facilitycentro de atención a largo plazo 
medical power of attorneypoder notarial para asuntos médicos 
medical record
  • expediente médico
  • historia clínica
middle namesegundo nombre 
notice (noun)
  • aviso
  • notificación
nursing homecasa de reposo 
Office of Acquired Brain InjuryOficina para Personas con Lesión Cerebral Adquirida 
Office of the Attorney GeneralProcuraduría GeneralAvoid the unnecessarily wordy Oficina del Procurador General.
Office of the General ComptrollerContraloría GeneralAvoid the unnecessarily wordy Oficina del Contralor General.
parental rightspatria potestad 
Parkinson's (disease)
  • la enfermedad de Parkinson
  • el mal de Parkinson
  • el párkinson
See Alzheimer's regarding capitalization and accentuation; the same rationale applies here.
place (verb) (to place a child in a foster home)asignarAvoid colocar in this context.
placement (by CPS, of a child in foster care)asignaciónAvoid colocación in this context.
prepaid envelopesobre con el porte pagadoAvoid sobre prepagado.
primary careatención primaria 
process (verb) (process a claim, a request, an application)
  • tramitar
  • atender
  • dar trámite a
Avoid procesar in this context.
proof of incomecomprobante de ingresos 
prosecute (pursue a criminal case against)
  • procesar (por la vía penal)
  • someter a juicio
  • someter a un proceso penal
prosecution (the act of prosecuting a crime)
  • proceso penal
  • procesamiento (de un delito, del acusado)
prosecution (the plaintiff in a criminal case)fiscalía 
qualify (intransitive) (for benefits, for a program, etc.)
  • reunir los requisitos (para … )
  • poder acceder a …
  • tener derecho a …
Avoid calificar in this context. See eligible and eligibility, as these concepts overlap to a large degree.
qualifying (as an adjective preceding a noun)
  • que reúne los requisitos (para … )
  • que reúne determinados requisitos
  • que reúne ciertas condiciones

See qualify.

A qualifying disability: una discapacidad que reúne ciertas condiciones, que reúne los criterios de acceso, etc.

refer (verb) (for services, for health care, etc.)
  • remitir
  • enviar
  • recomendar
  • derivar
referral (medical, for services)
  • remisión
  • recomendación
  • derivación
release form
  • autorización de divulgación
  • descargo de responsabilidad
respite careservicio de respiro 
Senate Bill XYZ
  • la ley XYZ del Senado
  • el proyecto de ley XYZ del Senado
The translation will depend on whether the term refers to a state law already in effect (ley) or a bill not yet passed (proyecto de ley).
sign languagelengua de señasAvoid lenguaje de señas. Though widely used in this context, lenguaje is an inaccurate term that fails to recognize sign language as a full-fledged language (idioma, lengua) in its own right, rather than simply a form of speech (lenguaje).
SNAP food benefitsbeneficios (de alimentos) de SNAPAvoid beneficios de comida.
  • estado
  • estatus
  • condición
  • calidad
  • situación
substance abuse
  • abuso de sustancias
  • abuso de drogas o alcohol
substance use
  • consumo de sustancias
  • consumo de drogas o alcohol
Avoid uso in this context.
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)síndrome de muerte súbita del lactante (SMSL) 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)Seguridad de Ingreso Suplementario (SSI)This is the official Spanish term used by the federal government.
supporting documentationcomprobantes 
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)Asistencia Temporal para Familias Necesitadas (TANF)

This is the official Spanish term used by the federal government.

In running text, no article is used before the abbreviation: beneficiarios de TANF.

termination of parental rightsprivación de la patria potestadAvoid terminación in this context.
  • texanos
  • las personas (que viven) en Texas quienes viven en Texas
Avoid the spelling tejanos.
  • Texas
  • el estado de Texas
Avoid the spelling Tejas.
Texas Health StepsPasos Sanos de Texas 
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)Comisión de la Fuerza Laboral de Texas (TWC)This is the official Spanish name used by TWC.
trainingcapacitaciónIn general, avoid entrenamiento unless referring to athletic training or the training of animals.
traumatic brain injury
  • traumatismo cerebral
  • lesión cerebral por traumatismo
utilitiesservicios públicosNote that utilidades is a false cognate.
  • WIC
  • el programa WIC

No article is needed before the initials: las clases de WIC.

The long-form name (Women, Infants and Children) is rarely used in English and, in general, is not necessary in Spanish.

  • menores (de edad)
  • adolescentes
  • jóvenes
Guard against the automatic translation of youth as jóvenes or juventud. The word jóvenes would include young adults in addition to teenagers. Consider the context carefully to arrive at an appropriate translation.
  • el zika
  • el virus del Zika
  • la enfermedad del Zika

When it stands alone as the name of the illness, zika becomes a common noun in Spanish and, as such, is lowercased.

When preceded by el virus or la enfermedad Zika, remains a proper noun and, as such, is uppercased.