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FAQ About Spanish Translation
The Spanish Speaking Market
Every company should consider the commercial and economic importance of the Spanish language, particularly those in the US. The single most important export market for the U.S. is Latin America. With ever increasing Latin American and local Hispanic markets in the US,  companies are striving to  reach Spanish-speaking market segments which are critical to their growth.
Consider
  • Spanish, the official language in twenty-one countries, is the third most widely spoken language in the world, after English and Mandarin.
  • More than 400 million people speak Spanish worldwide.
  • The Spanish language is a powerful communication tool that reaches millions across America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  • In the U.S., Spanish has become the unofficial second language with twenty-five million people speaking it at home.
  • Five hundred Spanish newspapers, 152 magazines, and 205 publishers exist in the U.S.

Today's businesses cannot afford to ignore the attractive markets that the Spanish language offers. Spanish-speaking people constitute a huge community that shares products, services, and culture and offers businesses and institutions a truly unique growth potential.
Are There Different Spanish Dialects?
With its long history and huge geographic influence, the Spanish language has developed many local variations or dialects, as is natural with all widely spoken languages. This provides both opportunities and challenges for companies doing business in the Spanish-speaking world.

The opportunity is the ability to communicate in a single language with four hundred million people. The challenge is doing it with so many different idiomatic expressions. Should you concern yourself with this?

Can Spanish Speakers Understand One Another's Dialect?
The answer is yes. Sí, Señor! You can produce documents that will be understood by all Spanish audiences. Spanish speakers will understand the idiomatic differences of another region because of the extensive lexicographical and grammatical foundation of the Spanish language, even when cognates vary from region to region, even to the point of having entirely different meanings. A computer book written in Spain refers to a computer as "ordenador". In most of Latin America, a computer is a "computadora." Will the Latin American understand the word "ordenador"? Of course! Will he/she realize that a Spaniard wrote it? Absolutely! In a technical book or manual, this makes no difference; however, an advertising piece or a personalized message directed at the reader might be affected.
The Spanish Translator Challenge in the US
The U.S., with its large Hispanic population, is becoming a major Spanish-speaking market. Hispanics in the U.S. are an assortment of people with different national origins. This often presents a challenge for the Spanish translator. An advertising piece for Cuban Americans in Miami might be inappropriate for Mexican Americans in Los Angeles. Hence, while "neutral" Spanish usually bridges many Spanish language dialects, in many instances you may need to localize your message.
Should you Localize your Text?
Our clients often request that the translated text be delivered in European Spanish, Latin American Spanish or even Argentinean Spanish, for instance. However, in most cases, you probably want the document to be widely understood by all Spanish speakers. While this is suitable for a user manual, a software interface, or an international website, for example, if you want to speak directly to a specific audience to market a product you might need to "localize" the language in a specific Spanish dialect. Localizing a document makes the recipient feel that the message was crafted locally and thus the "message" becomes more relevant to your customer.
Example 1:
While promoting a shaving razor in Spain, your Mexican translation renders the word "rastrillo de afeitar." Spaniards use "cuchillas de afeitar". Both will understand each other perfectly because they draw on a common language base. However, a marketing campaign directed at European Spanish consumers would be better off using "cuchillas de afeitar."
Example 2:
A U.S.-based bank with major business interests in Chile is preparing its Annual Report for its Chilean investors and clients. In this case, the Annual Report probably should be written with the stylistic and lexicographical nuances of Chilean Spanish because financial terminology varies in each country.
Language Expansion. Why Does the Spanish Translation Seem Longer?
Many grammatical reasons justify  this "expansion" factor. Amongst them is the fact that Spanish translators often have to use two, three or even more words to translate a single English compound word. In general, a Spanish document will be fifteen percent longer than its English counterpart.
Legal Considerations
Legal language and concepts may vary from one country to the other. Translations might require specialized legal translation.

Some countries have specific legal guidelines regarding packaging, contracts, text formatting, etc. that you should take into account.

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