• Home
  • Blog
  • Language Variations Part 2 – Spanish

Language Variations Part 2 – Spanish

The next language we are going to focus on for our language variations series is Spanish.

With over 400 million native speakers worldwide it is the 2nd largest native language in the world – don’t let this fool you into thinking that there is only one version though. Spanish is the official language in over 20 countries across the globe and even though you might expect there to be differences in the Spanish spoken around the world, there are also different variations spoken within Spain itself. Confused yet?

The rain in Spain

So, although the official language of Spain is Castilian Spanish – the official Spanish language and what most of us associate when we think of ‘Spanish’, there are also other languages that you may need to consider if you are looking at Spain as one of your target markets. You may also need to consider Basque, Catalan or Galician. Have you ever been to Barcelona – well the official language there is Catalan and although this region is located in Spain the language is significantly different with influences from French and Italic languages. For example, the verb ‘to speak’ in Spanish is ‘Hablar’ wheras in Catalan it is ‘Parlar’ similar to the French ‘Parler’ and Italian ‘Parlare’.

Spanish vs LA Spanish

The differences between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish are mainly down to pronunciation in the same way that a UK English person has different pronunciation to a US English person. The majority of words are the same however there are some differences and also some grammar differences. For example, a car in Spanish is a ‘coche’ whereas if you were in Latin America a ‘coche’ refers to a baby stroller. This is further complicated as there are differences between the various countries in Latin America. For example, a pen in Spain would be a ‘bolígrafo’, a ‘lápiz pasta’ in Chile and a ‘lapicera’ in Argentina.

What does this mean for me?

Choosing which variation of Spanish you need can be a minefield – do you go for Castilian or Latin American? Firstly you need to decide on where your target market is and who the translation is for. If it is one specific market, then this is straightforward however if you are targeting multiple markets within Spanish speaking locales then you need to assess the cost versus the impact of localising for every locale.

If this is something that you are considering speak to one of our project managers and they will be able to advise on the different options available.