Interesting Facts About Spanish Translations

Do you know that in translation circles, there are many types of Spanish – each slightly different from the other?
There are US Spanish and Latin American Spanish, and then there are International Spanish and Neutral Spanish to contend with.
Let’s not forget about Iberian Spanish, which is also called European Spanish! Do so many language variations make the translator’s job very difficult? Or, impossible?
The difference between the many variations is mostly like the difference between US English and UK English, and in most cases, such differences can be ironed out. But, the variations start springing up in a big way when it comes to lingo and jargon.
Spanish document translation can be complex and exacting. Here are some facts about the process that you should know.

Facts About Spanish Translation That You May Not Know

  • Spanish grammar is different than English grammar. Spaniards use an inverted question mark at the beginning of a question and a straight question mark at its end! Simple words assume different meanings even while sounding and looking the same.

For example, “soy feliz” is Spanish for “By my nature, I am a happy and sunny person.” If we change “soy feliz” to “estoy feliz,” which is a slight change, it ends up meaning, “I am feeling happy today.”
As you can realize, establishing the correct context while translating from Spanish documents can pose a challenge even to seasoned translators.

  • When English is translated into Spanish, the text increases by about 25% to 30%. This can pose a challenge to translation companies especially if the translation has to be uploaded on a web page.

This is because most web pages are created for the English language and if the text increases, it could completely skew the design, thereby necessitating design tweaks. However, professional translation companies can fix this problem by editing out superfluous Spanish words.

  • Spain is divided into many regions, and each region has its own linguistic preferences. Slang, word preferences, phrases, etc., differ from region to region. This makes translation tougher especially when the translated document has to contain a particular region’s flavor.

The Spanish translator must know that particular region’s linguistic preferences, and if he is not aware, the document will sound off-color to the target audience.
Here’s an interesting question: What happens if the target market is US, which is home to Spaniards from all regions? How will a translated document, which is tilted towards a particular region, sound to them? This is a tough question that only a high-quality translation company can tackle.

In Summary

Spanish translation is a very tough job and only very high-quality certified translators are equipped to tackle it. The tragedy is that many people approach Spaniards for translating their documents, without checking if the translator is trained or qualified.
Now it is possible that an untrained or a fresher or an amateur can actually do a good job, but that chance is very, very slim. Therefore, any Spanish translation is best left to a professional translation service.

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Lillian F. Redden is a translator from New York who recommends for companies who require highly accurate document translations.