Grocery stores have become so commonplace in Spain, they’ve even been given their own dictionary.
As part of a project called “Lisbon Isla” (Lisbón Isla), a Google Translation team has been scanning the English and Spanish versions of supermarket definitions and piecing them together into a dictionary.
“When we were reading Spanish text, we had a good idea of what a grocery was, but there was no definition for what a ‘store’ was,” says Arjun Jha, the project’s co-founder and Google Translation coordinator.
“The dictionary gives us a much more precise definition of what that is.”
To help, the team worked with local supermarket chain Loblaws, which uses Spanish as its official language.
“We went to a Loblaws store in Barcelona, and they were so friendly, they were able to translate a dictionary for us,” Jha explains.
“In their shop, there are two big shelves, one for food and the other for groceries.
The food shelf is the grocery store and the grocery shop is where you can pick your food.”
“Theres no grocery store where the name is ‘Bagel.'”
Loblaws has already created a Google translation for the supermarket concept in Spain.
It’s a pretty simple process, but Jha says it’s a great way to get started.
“It makes it easier to understand what a supermarket is,” he says.
“You just need to say ‘loblaws.'”
Jha is quick to point out that this is not a complete list of all supermarkets in Spain — there are also many regional supermarket chains, including local rivals such as Cabeza, which also has its own dictionary of supermarket concepts.
And as with most Spanish language websites, you will need to be on the lookout for “bagged” food items.
If you’re in a supermarket, Jha stresses, be careful to only buy from the food section, as you may not be able to see what’s in the bins that are normally there.
“If you see a bin that says ‘food’, that means it’s not food, and you can’t see what it’s in,” he explains.
“[But] if you see it say ‘bagged,’ that means that there are bins in the food shop where you could actually see what the food is.”
In other words, this is a great starting point for those of you who are looking to discover how Spain’s supermarket scene works, or just want to learn more about Spanish food.