averagepromedio / media

The word 'average' can be a headache to translate into Spanish. As well as an adjective, it is also a noun, a verb and an adverb. One of the reasons that it causes problems is the fact that usage varies between countries and registers.


1) As a noun.

Una/la media is by far the most common option in everyday spoken Spanish in Spain. En/el  promedio is more common in Latin America and in formal/technical register.1

-This is just an average — Esta cifra solo es una media / un promedio

-He's above (the) average — Está por encima de la media

-The average of 6+2+1 is 3 — La media de 6+2+1 es 3 

-The national average of all the scores was 8.5  — El promedio / la media nacional de todas las notas fue de 8,5


An average of: usually applied to quantities or numbers. Once again, promedio isn't generally as common in everyday Spanish in Spain.

-I travel an average of 20kms a day — Viajo una media de 2o km al día / Viajo 20km al día, de media

-I earn an average of 500 euros a week — Gano una media de 500 euros a la semana / De media, gano 500 euros a la semana

-We spend an average of one hundred euros every time we go to a hotel — Gastamos un promedio de cien euros cada vez que vamos a un hotel 


The adverbial phrase on average has two meanings. 1. 'Typically', applied to the whole sentence (en general) . 2. An average applied to a number or quantity within the sentence (de media, como media, una media de). Although this distinction is often unclear, it changes the focal point of the sentence.

-On average, women earn less than men — 1. En general, las mujeres ganan menos que los hombres [As a general rule]

-On average, women earn about 20% less than men — 1. Las mujeres ganan una media de un 20%  menos que los hombres / De media, las mujeres ganan un 20% menos que los hombres [Statistical average rather than what the typical woman does]


-On average, you have to wait for three months — 1. Como media/en general, hay que esperar tres meses [As a general rule]  2. Hay que esperar una media de tres meses [Perhaps some wait 1 day while others wait 6 months; it is not necessarily what typically happens]


-On average, Spaniards are shorter than Norwegians — En general, los españoles son más bajos que los noruegos / El español medio es más bajo que el noruego medio

-He scores a goal a game, on average — Marca un gól por partido de/como media

-On average, 9o% of the sales are online — De media, un 9o% de las ventas se realizan online/Una media del 9o% de las ventas se realizan online [A statistical average rather than what typically happens]

-The share price rose, on average, by 25% — El precio de las acciones subió un 25% de/como media/por término medio/promedio


 2) As an Adjective.

Medio would be the normal choice as an adjective.  Normal and típico are also good translations when 'average' really just means 'typical' rather than a statistical mean.

-The average woman weighs 56kg — La mujer media pesa 56 kg

-The average speed of the car was 50km/h — La velocidad media del coche fue de 50 km/h

-The average family spends about 50 euros a month on fish — La familia típica/media gasta unos 50 euros al mes en pescado

-On an average day — En un día cualquiera


When average means 'not great' or 'nothing special', it usually translates as regular or normal (y corriente). It can be an adjective or an adverb

-The film is average — La película es regular/normalita

-How was the food? -Average — -¿Qué tal la comida? -Regular/mediocre/ ni fu ni fa

-I did average in the exam — El examen me salió regular

-I'm just an average guy — Sólo soy un tío normal y corriente


3) As a verb.

Although some dictionaries translate the verb 'to average' as promediar, in everyday spoken Spanish in Spain this is not the norm to talk about maintaining or achieving an average amount/level over time.

-I averaged 10 sales a day — Cerraba 1o ventas al día, como media / Cerraba una media de 10 ventas al día 

-He averaged 5km/h over the whole trip — Hicimos una media de 5km/h en el viaje

-The temperatures in winter average about 5 degrees  — La temperatura media en invierno por la noche suele estar en torno a 5 grados


b) As a transitive verb, meaning 'to calculate the average', the most common way of expressing it in Spanish is "calcular la media/el promedio".

-Now you have to average those results — Ahora tienes que calcular la media/el promedio de esos resultados

-I averaged the scores — Calculé la media de las notas