Using Spanish preposition ante

The Spanish preposition "ante" is used in different contexts and depending on how it's used it translates in different ways in English. 

Ante meaning in front of, before [something/someone]

Ante can literally mean in front of something or someone (physically). Here are some examples:

Rodrigo tuvo que presentarse ante un juez para prestar declaración.Rodrigo had to appear before a judge to make a declaration.

Debes firmar los papeles ante un notario para que sea válido.You must sign the papers in the presence of a notary so that it's valid.

Los manifestantes mostraban sus pancartas ante el edificio del parlamento.The protesters held up their banners in front of the parliament building.

As you can see, this use of ante can frequently be translated by before and is used to indicate "location", it does not have a "time" meaning (i.e. before = in the presence of, and not before and after). 

Ante is normally used in slightly more formal contexts than the more common "enfrente de"

Ante meaning in the face of/faced with [something]

Ante can also be used when we talk about facing problems, a specific situation, a difficulty... 

Here are some examples:

Ante la imposibilidad de reclamar sus derechos, recurrió a un abogado para que lo ayudara.Faced with the impossibility of claiming his rights, he resorted to a lawyer for help.

Ante tal situación, decidimos no involucrarnos más.Faced with such a situation, we decided not to get involved anymore.

Ante la certidumbre de su fracaso, vendió todo lo que pudo para salir a flote.Faced with the certainty of her failure, she sold everything she could to stay afloat.

In this context, the sentence using "ante" implies the cause of the action in the main clause, e.g.:

Ante tal situación, decidimos no involucrarnos más.

Because of what the situation was, we decided not to get involved anymore.

 

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Examples and resources

Rodrigo tuvo que presentarse ante un juez para prestar declaración.Rodrigo had to appear before a judge to make a declaration.
Debes firmar los papeles ante un notario para que sea válido.You must sign the papers in the presence of a notary so that it's valid.
Los manifestantes mostraban sus pancartas ante el edificio del parlamento.The protesters held up their banners in front of the parliament building.
Ante la imposibilidad de reclamar sus derechos, recurrió a un abogado para que lo ayudara.Faced with the impossibility of claiming his rights, he resorted to a lawyer for help.
Ante la certidumbre de su fracaso, vendió todo lo que pudo para salir a flote.Faced with the certainty of her failure, she sold everything she could to stay afloat.
Ante tal situación, decidimos no involucrarnos más.Faced with such a situation, we decided not to get involved anymore.
I'll be right with you...