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Different Varieties of the Spanish Language


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English Spanish Translations: Latin American variety

When you need to translate a document into Spanish and your priority is to create the right impact, it is important to have in mind the country of origin of the target audience. Are we talking Spain or a country in Latin America?

Spanish is the official language in more than 20 countries and is spoken by more than 350 million people around the world (this figure is for natives only). So, it is only natural that differences will arise among Spanish speakers coming from different locations.

COSMO translations points out in this article the main differences one may encounter between these two varieties which can be, in some way, compared to the differences between British English and American English. Nevertheless, one should bear in mind that these differences are not so great that will prevent communication between two speakers coming from Spain and Latin America, but it is very probable that certain misunderstandings may arise during a conversation.
The main differences can be divided into three groups (i) Vocabulary: for example the word “ordenador" in Spain means “computer" whereas in Latin America the one used to refer to such is “computadora". Same happens with the word “gafas" used in Spain for glasses (to read) whereas in Venezuela the word “lentes" is used and “anteojos" in Argentina. (ii) Pronunciation: This is a remarkable difference between native people coming from Latin America and those coming from Spain. The Spaniards tend to pronounce the z like “th" (like the sound of “thin") which results in quite a strong accent compared to someone coming from Peru, for example. In Latin America the “z" is often pronounce like a common “s" ("sun"). (iii) Grammar: the use of the pronoun for the second person singular differ. “Tú" (Spain) and “Vos" (Argentina). The same happens with the plural which in Spain would be “vosotros" and in Latin America “ustedes".

Spanish is a complex language and not easy to learn. Leaving these differences behind, it is important to note that in Spain there are 5 different varieties of Spanish and in Latin America even more. But as previously stated, if you are a student of Spanish worrying about the nationality of your tutor and picking-up the wrong accent, we would recommend not stressing so much over this. At the end, you will have no problem to make yourself understood in one or the other culture. But if you are really serious about having a good translation done, and creating the right impact, then I would say: leave it to us!.

COSMO translations team translates from English into Spanish and Spanish into English with a specialization in Latin American Spanish.


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