Hola Spain: How to Progress in Spanish Translation Market

Hola Spain: How to Progress in Spanish Translation Market
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


The Spanish speaking population ticks at 406 million, making Spanish second to Mandarin in terms of native speakers worldwide. Spanish is also spoken by 60 million people as a second language and has over 30 million students. In the US, the language is the second most widely taught and boasts over 50 million speakers.

Classification of Spanish Dialects
Spanish can be classified into two main groups:

1. Peninsular Spanish and

2. Latin America Spanish

1. Peninsular Spanish.
Peninsular Spanish consists of:

  • Castilian (spoken in northern and southern Spain)
  • Andalusian (a dialect spoken in southern Spain)
  • Canarian (Canary Islands)
  • Aranese
  • Galician
  • Basque
  • Catalan

2. Latin America Spanish.
Latin American Spanish consists of:

  • Mexican (mostly spoken in Mexico)
  • Caribbean (Caribbean Mexico, northern Colombia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Cuba)
  • Andean-Pacific (Colombia, western Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and western Venezuela)
  • Rio de la Plata (Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina)
  • Chilean
  • Central American (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica)

The main differences between the dialects are evident in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.

Spanish Vocabulary.
Vocabulary brings out the major difference in the dialects. Speakers from different regions may refer to the same item in different words. Moreover, some words are also borrowed from English and indigenous languages of the Americas.

Spanish Grammar and Pronunciation.
Grammar and pronunciation go hand in hand. While grammar may not be important in speaking, it is important in writing.

On the other hand, pronunciation is crucial for film and media. The accent of speakers in Spain and Latin America is different and, therefore, films made for the regions should be dubbed separately with the appropriate accents for the audiences.

Entering Spanish Markets
When translating content for the Spanish market, it’s important to identify the audience that you want to reach. This way, you can adapt the terminology to a specific variant where needed. Sometimes, Spanish translation of specific words may not be possible. In such cases, it will be best to adopt a neutral stance.

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It’s also advisable to use native Spanish dialect speakers to translate your content for the specific audiences you are targeting. Ideally, you should use speakers from the specific region where the dialect you want to reach is spoken.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc an Orange County, California based company that has been providing accurate and affordable transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed success at GMR for almost ten years now and has helped the company grow. Within two years of Beth managing GMR Transcription, it had doubled in sales and was named one of the OC Business Journal’s fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she likes spending time with her husband and two kids.