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Published on: Grammar Bites

Five Spanish translations of ‘scope’

Did you know that the English term ‘scope’ can have many different Spanish equivalents? Let’s take a look at some of the main ones!

1. Scope as Alcance
When discussing the extent or range covered by an activity, service, treatment, etc, we can translate it as either ‘alcance’ or ‘rango’:
  • La conferencia de prensa de hoy explicará el alcance de la nueva ley. Today’s press conference will explain the scope of the new law.
  • Cuando lleguemos al centro del bosque estaremos fuera del rango de comunicaciones por unos días. Once we reach the middle of the woods we’ll be outside of the scope of communication for a few days.
2) Scope as Mira
If we’re discussing weapons, in Spanish the scope of a gun is called ‘mira’:
  • Antes de disparar, debes usar la mira para localizar tu objetivo. Before you shoot, you must use the scope to locate your target.
  • Saber usar la mira es esencial para tener buena puntería. Knowing how to use the scope is essential to have good aim.
3. Scope as Ámbito
When we talk about the extent of a field of studies or line of work,  ‘scope’ can be translated as ‘ámbito’:
  • Es un tema interesante, pero no entra en el ámbito de esta publicación. It’s an interesting topic, but it does not fit within the scope of this paper.
  • ¿Cuál será el ámbito de la nueva empresa? What will be the scope of the new company?
4. Scope as Telescopio, Microscopio
In English we sometimes use ‘scope’ as a short form for instruments such as ‘telescope’, ‘miscroscope’, ‘endescope’, etc. However, in Spanish we must always use the full forms: ‘telescopio’, ‘microscopio’, ‘endoscopio’, etc.
  • Le regalamos un pequeño telescopio para que pueda ver las estrellas. We got her a small scope so she can see the stars.
  • Pon la muestra en el microscopio para verla mejor. Put the sample on the scope to get a better look.
5. Scope as Examinar, Observar
When we use ‘scope’ as a verb, the Spanish equivalents are ‘examinar’, ‘observar’:
  • Él examinó el terreno en busca de señales de vida. He scoped the terrain looking for signs of life.
  • Los guardaespaldas observan con cuidado a la multitud para prevenir incidentes. The body guards carefully scope out the crowd in order to avoid any incidents.
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