It could be that you are using a different session language than was used to submit the translated item.
For example, a user with the page (or tab) privilege Manage Items With Approval creates a French translation of an item and submits it for approval. The French display name of the item appears in the approver's Notifications portlet, even when the approver's session language is set to English. However, if the approver does not switch the session language to French, the item can be only previewed.
Change your session language to, in this case, French, then try again. To properly preview and approve content for a pending translation, you must set your session language to the same language as the translation.
Is item versioning turned on? If so, it could be that the most current default-language version of the item has no translations at the same version level. When the current default language version does not have a translation, this may cause users to think that their translations have disappeared.
Set the session language to, in this case, French, and edit the item, uploading a new French version, or selecting an earlier French version to copy as the current translated version.
When you edit an item in a language other than the default language, the Category and Perspectives attributes do not display. Switch the session language to the default language to edit an item's Category and Perspective attributes.
To translate categories and perspectives, you must edit these objects directly. That is, set your session language to, in this case, Spanish. Click the untranslated category name in the Page Groups portlet. And provide a Spanish Display Name for the category. Do the same thing for your perspectives.
As you switch between session languages, all translated versions of your categories and perspectives also switch, provided you have translated their Display Names.
Assuming that your portal's default language is English, any content you provide to translated versions of your portal also displays in the default language version (in this case, the English version). Add an English translation of the file to the English version, and that will be displayed in lieu of the Spanish version you uploaded first.