Spanish

Dialects and Regional Variations

At Art One Translations we produce more translations in Spanish than almost any other language. Spanish is spoken by more than 460 million people worldwide, and, as the official language of twenty-two countries, it has developed different dialects. What sets Arts One’s Spanish translations apart is our sensitivity to the finer points of these dialects. The two main ones, the Spanish of the Americas (American Spanish) and European Spanish (peninsular Spanish), are described below.

American Spanish and peninsular Spanish are mutually intelligible, but they have enough differences that Spanish translations into the wrong dialect will sound awkward to native speakers. Beyond basic differences in pronunciation, the two dialects also vary in word usage, phrase construction, grammar, and colloquialisms. Take, for example, the phrase, “What happened?” Speakers in Latin America often use the simple past verb tense, “¿Qué pasó?” to esay this, while speakers in Spain use the compound past tense, “¿Qué ha pasado?”, which means “What has happened?” The former phrase would sound simplistic in Madrid while the latter, more complex question would sound bookish in Mexico City, which could ruin the tone of a Spanish translation if it happened over and over again.

Another difference between European and American Spanish is in their vocabulary. The word “almacén”, for example, means “warehouse, department store” in standard Spanish and «grocery store» in Andean Spanish (a dialect spoken in the central Andes, in western Venezuela and southern Colombia, with influences in several other South American countries); the standard Spanish word for truck, “camión” means “bus” in Mexico; “cuadra”, which means “stable, pigsty” in standard Spanish, means “city block” in Latin America; and in Latin America a computer is called “la computadora”, while in Spain it is called “el ordenador”. Even the plural forms of the pronoun “you” differ among the dialects: in much of Spain, the form “vosotros” is used, along with its attendant verb forms, while Spanish speakers elsewhere use “ustedes.”

Although individual differences between dialects may not seem like much, they make a huge difference in a Spanish translation’s  quality, as hundreds of little inaccuracies, especially concerning technical language and terminology, can make a Spanish translation unusable. At Art One Translations we tailor our Spanish translations to the specific region in which they will be used. Every translation that we produce is written and proofread by linguists living in the area of its target audience to generate error-free texts that read as naturally as an original document. We also provide localization for software, website, user manuals, and other types of files and employ specialists in many fields so that any text can be adapted exactly as you would like.

If you expect a top-notch, market-specific Spanish translation, Art One Translations is the company for you.

Client Comments

Olena and Art One Translations have been a pleasure to work with. Olena always finds a way to accommodate our needs. She has managed several high quality English to Spanish or Chinese translations for us, usually with very short notice. Highly recommended.

William Lee

Solarsoft Business Systems