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

English Spanish Notes 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).

abuser agresor  
affidavit declaración 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.) solicitud Avoid aplicación in this context.
application form solicitud Avoid 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 days días hábiles  
cervical cancer cáncer de cuello uterino  
checkup chequeo For the regular medical and dental checkups provided as part of Texas Health Steps, chequeo is the preferred term over examen.
child abuse maltrato o abuso infantil See 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 support manutención 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 Texans Compromiso con los texanos Use italics or quotation marks to set off from surrounding text.
complete (a form) llenar Avoid 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 form consentimiento Avoid the unnecessarily wordy formulario de consentimiento.
date processed fecha de tramitación  
  • plazo
  • fecha límite
defendant (in a civil case)
  • demandado
  • parte demandada
defendant (in a criminal case) acusado  
denial (of benefits) denegación  
denial notice aviso 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
disenroll dar de baja  
district attorney's office Fiscalía  
doctor (as a synonym of "physician”) médico Use doctor or doctora in Spanish only as a title preceding someone's name: el doctor Morales, la doctora Sandoval.
drug abuse abuso de drogas  
drug test prueba de detección de drogas  
drug use consumo de drogas Avoid uso in this context.
durable power of attorney for health care poder 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.
elderly adultos mayores  
eligibility See 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 office oficina 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 hearing audiencia imparcial  
family-based services servicios 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) formulario See 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 child menor en situación de acogida  
foster home hogar de acogida  
foster parent padre de acogida  
group health plan plan médico de grupo  
group skills training capacitación en grupo  
guardian tutor  
guardianship tutela  
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 care atención médica  
health care services
  • servicios médicos
  • servicios de salud
health plan plan médico  
Healthy Texas Women Healthy Texas Women The 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-impaired con 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 status estatus migratorio  
individual (noun)
  • persona
  • beneficiario
  • usuario
  • interesado
Avoid individuo.
individuals with disabilities personas con discapacidad  
  • bebé
  • lactante
Avoid infante, which is a false cognate.
intermediate care atención 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 card tarjeta Lone Star  
long-term care facility centro de atención a largo plazo  
medical power of attorney poder notarial para asuntos médicos  
medical record
  • expediente médico
  • historia clínica
middle name segundo nombre  
notice (noun)
  • aviso
  • notificación
nursing home casa de reposo  
Office of Acquired Brain Injury Oficina para Personas con Lesión Cerebral Adquirida  
Office of the Attorney General Procuraduría General Avoid the unnecessarily wordy Oficina del Procurador General.
Office of the General Comptroller Contraloría General Avoid the unnecessarily wordy Oficina del Contralor General.
parental rights patria 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) asignar Avoid colocar in this context.
placement (by CPS, of a child in foster care) asignación Avoid colocación in this context.
prepaid envelope sobre con el porte pagado Avoid sobre prepagado.
primary care atención primaria  
process (verb) (process a claim, a request, an application)
  • tramitar
  • atender
  • dar trámite a
Avoid procesar in this context.
proof of income comprobante 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 care servicio de respiro  
retirement jubilación  
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 language lengua de señas Avoid 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 benefits beneficios (de alimentos) de SNAP Avoid 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 documentation comprobantes  
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 rights privación de la patria potestad Avoid 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 Steps Pasos Sanos de Texas  
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Comisión de la Fuerza Laboral de Texas (TWC) This is the official Spanish name used by TWC.
training capacitación In general, avoid entrenamiento unless referring to athletic training or the training of animals.
traumatic brain injury
  • traumatismo cerebral
  • lesión cerebral por traumatismo
utilities servicios públicos Note 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.