This book was designed to help English-speaking police officers, court
officers, public safety workers, parole officers, and other law-related
personnel who work among Hispanics but who have little or no command of
spoken Spanish. It will also prove helpful to firefighters, and social
workers whose duties take them into Spanish-speaking communities. Rather
than concentrating on rules of grammar and memorization of verb forms and
other such details, the author concentrates on useful vocabulary and phrases
for making oneself understood in Spanish, and for understanding others when
dealing with accidents and accident reports, crime investigations, public
gatherings, court and legal procedures, and other aspects of law enforcement
and public safety. The book contains dialogues that simulate such scenes.
From the Inside Flap
This book will help you make yourself understood to Hispanics who have
little or no command of English—and will also help you understand what they
are saying to you. You’ll find vocabulary and phrases for making yourself
understood in Spanish, and for understanding others when you are dealing
with accidents and accident reports, crime investigations, public
gatherings, court and legal procedures, and other aspects of law enforcement
and public safety. The book presents Spanish and English dialogues,
simulating scenes like those you encounter in your official capacity. Extra
pronunciation tips will help you make yourself understood.
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; 2 edition (December
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0764137514
- ISBN-13: 978-0764137518
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.8 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review:
I can't wait for the new edition to come out in January -- IT'S COMING WITH 2
AUDIO CD's. My copy is completely worn out, and it's loaned out to other guys in
the department all the time. As a trainer, I need to know Spanish words that
relate to several different departments. This is the ONLY COMPLETE book out
there. I think the City is thinking about buying one for everyone on the force.
I disagree with many of the harsher reviews. I am a police officer , not a
medical student or lawyer and this is a pretty decent book. Just realize what
you're getting. It's a book for an officer to learn basic commands. It will also
teach you how to get the general idea of a call until you can get a real
translator on scene. No, you are not going to become conversational with this
book. But you will be able to learn the commands that will keep you, suspects
and bystanders safe. That's the main focus of the book: commands. The others are
right, it barely mentions verb conjugation (one of the most important parts of
the language.) But! (big "but" here) That's not the intent of the book. For the
average patrolman, it's a wealth of knowledge. It's a starting point with things
you can use RIGHT NOW. To become conversational, you are going to have to
continue your education. I also wouldn't interrogate a suspect with just
knowlege from this book. Think: Officer saftey, traffic stops, DUI's, Domestics
and report calls. That's the jist of this book. I recommend it.
I agree with Mr. Picapiedra statments: stay away from this book, it'll make you
Now I'm really worried about the justice system in the States as a former
reviewer, David Levine says: "I am beginning to break into conversations, in
Spanish, between clients and the court appointed interpreter. I am developing
the ability to explain to my clients (albeit simplistically) what is going on in
MY GOD !!! I really pity Mr. Levine's clients.
In a later review Mr. Davidson states he is a Police Officer, and says the book
is very good. On the other hand he admits he can't speak spanish.
Well, I'm not a police officer, BUT (big *but* here Mr Davidson) spanish is my
native language. The book is horrible becouse it has gross *errors*.
It's a good idea to write a manual for police officers, but it's a *bad* idea to
have errors in it.
I work in law enforcement and have a BA in Spanish. Some people will find this
to be a very useful book, but I found it to be too much of what I already know
(general-purpose vocabulary and phrases) and not enough of what I don't (more
advanced unique terms and expressions an officer would use at work).
Be advised that this book is NOT designed to teach Spanish grammar to the
complete newcomer. It does not even discuss grammar, so if you have never
studied Spanish, you'll need to look elsewhere first to learn to conjugate
verbs, etc. This book has many examples of useful phrases, but it also contains
many long vocabulary lists which--for the beginner--offer little to no guidance
on how to use them in a gramatically-correct sentence.
I found this book to be a bit too broad in it's approach to teaching Spanish for
a specific field of interest ("law enforcement"). I would have preferred it if
the author would have assumed that the reader already had a functional
vocabulary and was just looking for the unique terms and expressions used in
police work. As it is, you have to sift through a lot of general-purpose
vocabulary and phrases to get to the meat--the unique terms and expressions you
need as a cop but wouldn't have learned in Spanish 101, or even Spanish 301. If
you're a beginning student of Spanish and already know the basics of grammar,
you may appreciate the lists of basic words and phrases.
Where the book does cover a topic of importance to me, I found it did not go
into enough detail. For example, there is a section on DUI's, but the phrases it
offers are only of a very general nature and do not convey all of the
instructions an officer would need to process a DUI. With all due respect to the
author, it is apparent from what is missing from this book that he does not work
in law enforcement and lacks an indepth understanding of the type of information
that a police officer would want to convey and obtain. Phrases like, "You're in
violation of a no-contact order," or, "If you don't go to court, the judge will
issue a warrant for your arrest," should be included in a 410 page book for law
enforcement but I can't find any indication here how to convey those ideas.
Much of my work with Spanish-speaking individuals involves gangs, but this book
never directly addresses gangs and the associated terms that go with them ("brincar"
means "to jump in," for example). Also, there is no mention of Spanish slang or
swear words in this book. Slang is a subject in itself, but every Spanish book
for law enforcement should contain at least a list of slang terms that relate to
officer-safety ("cuete" means "gun," for example).
This book could also benefit from a good index since the table of contents is
extremely basic. Finding info on a particular topic takes some searching.
In fairness to the author, I must address a previous reviewer's implication that
the book uses nonstandard Spanish. On page 210 under "The Raid" it correctly
lists "This is the police" as "Somos la policia," and on page 8 under "What's
your name?" it says that the proper way to answer someone asking your name is to
say, "Soy..." for "I'm..." However, the book's cover does indeed contain the
error the reviewer mentioned.
Despite the above citicisms, this book is certainly not without its merits.
Every single Spanish word has an accompanying phonetic spelling as a
pronunciation guide, which beginners may find very helpful. And although the
treatment of some subjects is more superficial than I would have liked, a broad
range of subjects are discussed. If you knew everything in this book, you would
at least be able to get by in most law-enforcement situations. But if you're
looking for something with a more complete listing of advanced terms and phrases
(more "meat"), a much better alternative is Living Language's Essential Spanish
for Law Enforcement.
I'm spanish, and I tell you I hope I could give 0 stars. I don't know how this
guy was allowed to write this book without knowing spanish. Just look at the
cover, you can read "Esta es la policia" meaning "this is the police", well, a
spanish speaking person would NEVER say that. Correct form: "Somos la policia"
or even if questioned who it is "¿Quien es?" you should just say "La policia".
Same thing applies when making a phone call, we NEVER say "Esto es Pedro,
quisiera hablar con Maria", instead we say "Soy pedro, quisiera hablar con María"
--> Translated (This is Pedro, may I talk to Maria). Inside the book, things are
even worse. If you use this book you will sound quite stupid to a spanish
speaking audience, avoid it.
As an attorney whose practice is concentrated in criminal defense, I have been
studying Spanish via a Berlitz cassette course (which I also highly recommend)
as well as with several books and manuals. This is the best self study book I
have used so far. The book is set out so you can systematically learn basic
Spanish or, you can readily find the proper phrases for a specific situation.
Although designed for police, parole officers, court personnel, etc., I have
found this book extremely useful in my practice. Indeed, I am beginning to break
into conversations, in Spanish, between clients and the court appointed
interpreter. I am developing the ability to explain to my clients (albeit
simplistically) what is going on in court. I can even carry on a simple phone
conversation and get something worthwhile accomplished in the conversation. The
book both teaches how to speak Spanish and provides quick phrases for various
situations. This book is my bible.
A book with thousands of phrases and words that help even the native speaker.
Covers Miranda warnings, high stress situations, speaking about crimes, finding
out what happened, and other necessary conversations in a an unknown
environment. Everything from citizenship to "?Cuantos cervezas?". Lacking in
street slang, and verb forms, however.