Significance of accents and target location in Spanish translation

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Thinking about translating your work into Spanish? Great! But which Spanish?

This might sound confusing but yes there are many types of Spanish depending upon location. Following its story of origin and development, Spanish has been influenced by various languages and places over time after descending from Latin. Let’s get to know some more about Spanish.

Spanish, the language of romance, is the second most spoken native language in the world, with more than 450 million speakers. Spreading across countries and continents it covers a vast area from Europe to Central America. It is a common misconception that Spain has the largest number of Spanish speakers, it originates there but does not have the numbers. Spanish is most spoken in Mexico, with more than 100 million speakers, after that comes Argentina followed by Colombia and the USA, then comes Spain. Spanish is also known as Castellano and Español. Here are certain key points to remember while translating into Spanish.

Defining the Target location

Defining the target location is of utmost importance for getting perfect Spanish translation services. Spanish being widespread across the globe has various forms and accents. Spanish for Spain is different from Spanish for the Americas. Even the American Spanish is further divided into various other accents. And all these accents have their significant difference in vocabulary and grammar. Although for translation purposes, which can be understood as follows: -

  • In the Castilian accent spoken in northern Spain, people use cómo estáis? for “how are you guys?”, and “vosotros” to give a respectful sound to “you”. While these conjugations are rarely used in other accents of Spanish. Most other accents use ‘tu’ for ‘you’. This shows how accents vary in their grammar.
  • Similarly, the vocabulary of an accent is influenced by the geographical area. In the Mexican accent, the term for a computer is ‘ computadora’ while in other accents it is called ‘ordendor’. The Mexican accent also borrows few words directly from the native American language Nahuatl, like comote meaning sweet potato.

 Next comes selecting a translator

Always choose a translator who translates the meaning and not just the words. Literal translations in Spanish (most of the time) make no sense. For Spanish, a translator must have training, experience, and expertise to avoid any ambiguity in the meanings of translated phrases. Look for the following qualities in a Spanish translator:-

  • You have to choose a translator according to your target location and audience. When translating into Spanish it is advised to select a translator who has a native level proficiency (both verbal and written) in the Spanish accent you want the translation.
  • The translator you choose must be experienced and understands the local terminologies and vocabulary. The quality of translation also depends on your target audience and the purpose of your translation.
  • You will need a translator who understands (in the regional accent), the terminologies related to the area of the subject, and the correct tone and style.
  • Selecting a perfect translator for the job is a job in itself, as a translation done by an inexperienced person can lead to misunderstandings. This is true for any professional document translation.

The Cultural acceptance

A very well-known incident that represents the importance of accent in translating culturally acceptable happened with the California Milk Processor Board. When the California Milk Processor Board made it big with their popular slogan “Got Milk” they wanted to expand the campaign to Spanish consumers. The translation “Hey Leche” does translate as “got milk” but in the Spanish culture this question means “are you lactating.” After this proved disastrous, the Milk Board had to change the slogan and make it more focused on family, "Familia, Amor y Leche" ("Family, Love and Milk").

To make a translation culturally acceptable always remember: -

  • While translating into a language, cultural and ethical acceptance should always be taken into account.
  • In the case of Spanish, every accent represents a different culture, ethnicity, and tradition. People speaking different accents have different pasts and cultural norms, your translation should be in accordance with that.
  • Like people in Argentina have their Spanish vastly affected by the Italian, and in Mexico, the Spanish are influenced by Aztec and English. Even there are certain conjugations in some accents which are rare or not present in most other accents of Spanish.
  • You need to gain a proper understanding of the traditional norms related to the accent, or you might offend or sound disrespectful without even knowing it.

But you need not worry, at LanguageNoBarIndia’s largest translation agency, we have just the right translators for your translation. Depending upon your target location and its accent we can provide you with the best quality translation service. No doubt our services are professionals with a high level of expertise in different forms and accents of the language. We offer translation services in more than 150 languages. The unmatched quality of our work is also provided in transcription and mobile app localization services.

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