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Old June 16, 2022, 10:09 PM
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Confiable and Fiable

Dictionaries are not very helpful with a distinction between “confiable” and “fiable.” In fact, they are confusing me.

Does the word “confiable” mean “trustworthy” and is only used when referring to people?

Pilar is a trustworthy person
Pilar es una persona confiable/digno de confiar

Does the word “fiable” mean “reliable” and is only used when referring to things?

The cell phone reception here is very reliable
La recepción de celulares aquí es fiable

Are these two words possibly interchangeable?
Can they be used with both people and things or only as I have them defined above?
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  #2  
Old June 17, 2022, 09:11 PM
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In this case English can help. Confiar and confide are pretty close. Someone who is confiable is someone you can confide in. Someone who is fiable is trustworthy like a good employee.
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Old June 19, 2022, 01:26 PM
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Thanks for your input, poli.
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Old June 19, 2022, 08:46 PM
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We tend to use them interchangeably, but to me there is some sort of nuance. Pretty close to what Poli said: if you already know the person and you judge their character as "digno de confianza" (someone you can put your trust on and be sure you won't be disappointed), then I would use "confiable". And I would prefer "fiable" when you either expect the person to show their virtue.
Also, when you are talking about a process, activity or thing that would give the results you are counting on, in most cases I'd use "fiable", but if I'm judging there is some level of honesty involved, I'll use "confiable".
So, I guess "confiable" is closer to "trustworthy" and "fiable" is closer to "reliable".

- Me interesa establecer una relación con alguien fiable/confiable.
- No sabemos si tu amigo es una persona fiable/confiable. Necesitamos saber más de él.
- Mariana ha demostrado ser una empleada confiable/fiable. (Here, if I say "confiable", I think she is someone whose honesty is proven and can be trusted with a delicate matter. If I say "fiable", I mean she's responsible and her tasks are always finished in time.)
- Necesito que me guardes este dinero. Eres la única persona confiable/fiable que conozco.
- Hemos usado este método de producción durante muchos años, porque es bastante fiable/confiable. (A process that has given the expected results over the years.)
- Los datos de las encuestas son fiables/confiables. (On principle, I'd use "fiable" here most of the time, because I'd expect the talk would be about a transparent mathematical method to get these data. But maybe someone fears that data can be tampered with, so I'd use "confiables" if I want to stress their objectivity.)
- Antes de publicar, asegúrate de que es información confiable/fiable. (I prefer "confiable" here, because I'm kind of judging a "moral" character on the information that should come from a reputed source who wouldn't lie.)

- Curious example of interchangeability I found on Google:
·Title: ¿Quieres ser una persona confiable?
·Paragraph: Cuando eres una persona fiable, quiere decir que siempre haces lo que dices que vas a hacer.
(Here, their nuance is that people may find you "confiable" because you're like a coherent mechanism, so "fiable".)

I think you can choose now.
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Old June 20, 2022, 03:44 PM
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Thank you, AngelicaDeAlquezar. Yes, I can make an informed choice now.
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