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Do you want to translate your website, your portfolio or another content into Spanish? Do you already know which Spanish? Iberian, Peruvian, Argentinian, Chilean, Venezuelan or Mexican?

"What difference does it make?”, you may ask. Spanish is spoken by 500 million people in the world; after English and Chinese, it is the third most spoken language; and it is the official language in 21 countries. Given the extent of Spanish, you can imagine that its use may be different from one country to another.

 

Vocabulary:

Here are a few examples of vocabulary differences in the spoken and written Spanish:

 

·        If you want to sell cars, you will advertize them as “coches”  in Spain, “autos”· in Argentina and “carros” in Colombia and Mexico.

·        A computer company offers “ordenadores” on the Spanish market, and “computadoras” in Latin America.

·        If you commercialize mobile apps, your clients can download them on their “móbil” in Spain, and on their “celular” in Latin America.

 

Having said that, a Colombian will understand if you are talking about “coches” instead of “carros”, for example. However, using the local vocabulary will help you reach your prospects more efficiently as it shows a greater understanding on your part. It will be easier for you to build a closer relationship.

 

Grammar:

Did you know that, regardless of the country, Spanish speakers have five different way to say “you”? It is essential to keep those local variations in mind when it comes to marketing communications or when you are talking to your clients depending on where they are from.

 

There are several factors that influence the way you address the person/people you are talking to: number of people, how well you know them, and the country you are in.

 

·         If you address one person in an informal context, then you will say “” in the majority of the Spanish-speaking countries.

·        There are a few exception to this rule. Indeed, in Uruguay, Argentina and, to a certain extent, Paraguay, people don´t use “”, but they say “vos” with its own special conjugation.

·        In Spain, if you are talking to several friends, you will address them using “vosotros”.

·        Whereas, in Latin America, you can use “ustedes” when you are addressing several people, in informal or formal situations. 

·        If you are in Spain or in Latin America and you are talking to one person in a formal context, then you will use “usted”.

 

Two factors will help you choose the Spanish you need for your English-Spanish translation project: your budget and your target.

 

Your budget

If you do not have a lot of time and if your budget only allows you to do one translation for all your Spanish-speaking markets, then choose a neutral Spanish. By doing so, you reach your prospects both in Spain and in Latin America. It is good to bear in mind that there is no such thing as a “Universal Spanish”; this language was built to meet a commercial need, to help businesses communicate at a lower cost. In this case, your objective is to use a neutral language understood by the greatest number of Spanish-speakers.

 

But is it worth it?

If you choose a “Universal Spanish”, your message will have less impact than a text redacted in the regional variation of the targeted market. Talking to your clients using their local way of speaking can be much more efficient and can help your company forge its credibility.

 

Your target

Do you have a larger budget? If so, then translating your content into several regional variants is the best decision you can make. The first step is to establish your target market(s). Once this is done, choose translators that are familiar with the culture, the language and the habits of the country in question. If you localize your content and use your clients’ regional variant of Spanish, you can reach them more easily and you gain their trust. A closer relationship with your clients often converts into more sales and is a good thing for the reputation of your company.

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