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Differences between Spanish in all countries of Latin America
Thread poster: xxxVero16
xxxVero16
Belgium
Local time: 03:13
English
Sep 20, 2004

We have been asked to search about Spanish should uses in Latin America countries.
We have two assumptions:
first one is as follows:
Mexican Spanish for Mexico
Argentin Spanish for Argentine, Chili, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
The other one is as follows:
Mexican Spanish could be used for all countries
We would like to know what's the best solution to offer our client the best quality with the shortest deadline and lower price assuming that if we choose too much specific Spanish we loose time and money.
Thank you in advance.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 23:13
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Very interesting question and endless discussion Sep 20, 2004

Hello Vero

I'd say that first you have to look at the kind of document and then the target audience, and that you won't be able to offer the same receipt to all your clients.

Documents involving colloquial language (dialogs, movies, scripts, private letters...) are going to be in a very local shape, and you won't be able to use one translation for all the Spanish speaking countries of L.A. Or in other words, you can use it, of course, and it will be understood, but it will sound "Mexican" or "Argentine".
Chilean TV has sometimes Argentine adverts. It does sound Argentine and it is a barrier for the commercial field, not because the meaning is not clear (at all), just because it sounds "foreigner" (I'm not speaking of the accent, but verbs).
The problem is less visible with other kind of documents, but you'll find it also in technical manuals. The differences will be very few.

Taking the Mexican Spanish as reference makes me fear job offers stating "Mexican Spanish" only. I don't bid on these because when I read that I suppose that the client has a document for a Mexican target audience exclusively. Peruvian or Colombian Spanish could be references as well. I mean that the problem is not finding which one can be taken as reference, an educated translator should know about the differences.

My advice, depending on the two mentionned factors, kind of doc. and target audience, would be to find a translator who knows about the differences, first. Then, if you can afford local proofreaders, that would be the best quality service you can offer.

Claudia


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Gerard Michael Burns
Paraguay
Local time: 23:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Use a translator with a multi-regional background Sep 20, 2004

Vero16 wrote:
We have been asked to search about which Spanish should used in Latin America countries.
We have two assumptions: the first one is as follows:
Mexican Spanish for Mexico
Argentine Spanish for Argentina, Chili, Peru, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
The other one is as follows: Mexican Spanish could be used for all countries


I think you will find some problems with this policy.
Every country in Latin America has some idiosyncracies, but Mexican and Argentine are not really the most "neutral".There are some very everyday words in each country that will completely confuse people in many others.
A small example is the word "formato", which, where I am, refers to the English, "format", but in some countries means "form", as in "fill out this form". People here who see "formato" will not believe it means "form" unless the context makes it unmistakable.

If you really need to restrict yourselves so much, then I suggest you use translators who have lived in various parts of Latin America so they know which words are most likely to cause confusion. There will still be cases where the translator needs to make a difficult choice, but you will at least avoid most problems. Otherwise, I'm afraid you will eventually hear complaints.

Michael Burns


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
Difficult request from clients Sep 20, 2004

Vero16 wrote:

We would like to know what's the best solution to offer our client the best quality with the shortest deadline and lower price assuming that if we choose too much specific Spanish we loose time and money.
Thank you in advance.


I have often heard a similar request from United States customers. They want the "one size fits all" Spanish, which does not exist. I believe it is up to the client to determine if he wants a personalized translation for each target audience (which he/she can have at a price), or if they want to save a bit by determining who would be their largest market share (Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Colombians, Spaniards, etc.), and then hire a suitable translator.

In my experience, every time they have tried to "adapt" one language to all clients, there has always been one or two who complain.

Just to give an example using a Kudoz term I just saw, most Spanish speaking people, except Mexicans, would be uncomfortable with the term "industria llantera"... If the client is a tire manufacturer who wants a work manual translated for its employyes who are 75% Mexican, I guess it would not matter using such term; but if the client is an advertising agency planning and add campaign for the Miami area, they better find out what sre the terms that the Cuban population prefers.

There is just no one solution for all situations. Attempting such a thing might end up being bad marketing both for the translator and his/her client!

My two cents!



[Edited at 2004-09-21 02:18]


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Dimitri Aguero
Local time: 03:13
French to Spanish
+ ...
None are true. Use the Spanish version of each country. Sep 20, 2004

Hello Vero

None of the assumptions are true.

The most honest solution is to use the Spanish version of each country.

Greetings
Dimitri


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some further reading Sep 21, 2004

Here is a web page that examines some of the issues involved in internationalizing Spanish, with links to a number of further discussions of different aspects of the question. http://www.i18nguy.com/l10n/MS_LA_Spanish.html

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Localize Sep 21, 2004

When a client needs to use the Spanish content for many countries, and that would include Spain, then the best thing is to do it for one large market, let's say Mexico (the largest), and then send it to his people in the other countries and give them the assignment to adjust it.

We all understand one another's stuff pretty well, we just have our own preferred ways of saying things. When the text is all in the right language, making small ajustments to fit the usage of each country should be a no-brainer.

Just have their own people localize it.


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E.LA
Spanish to German
+ ...
a hard work Sep 22, 2004

I disagree with both of your assumptions.
Argentin Spanish is not suitable for Chili or other countries, it is very special in his verb-building manner.
Mexican Spanish for all countries is also wrong.

You can choose a Latin American (not Spain) version and look carefully on every word which you use - that it has no regional character. This will be a good, but very, very hard work.
One example: the word baby.
In Spain would be bebé
in most Southamerican countries would be guagua.
But in Puerto Rico guagua is a vehicle.
So you use lactante and every body will be fine. I hope so)


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Gerard Michael Burns
Paraguay
Local time: 23:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't use "guagua" in Paraguay! Sep 22, 2004

Tresa wrote:
You can choose a Latin American (not Spain) version and look carefully on every word which you use - that it has no regional character. This will be a good, but very, very hard work.
One example: the word baby.
In Spain would be bebé
in most Southamerican countries would be guagua.
But in Puerto Rico guagua is a vehicle.
So you use lactante and every body will be fine. I hope so)


In Paraguay, "guagua" is not used for anything, we say "bebé", and if "guagua" were even recognized as Spanish, it would seem extremely foreign.
What's worse, "guagua" sounds very much like the Guarani word "Jagua", which means, "dog". (and we all know this word even if 20% of us aren't fluent in Guarani)

So don't use "guagua" in Paraguay -especially if you are talking about breastfeeding.

Michael Burns


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Pablo Roufogalis
Colombia
Local time: 21:13
English to Spanish
Not an impossible task in many subjects Dec 8, 2004

Hello to all.

While keeping the full meaning and nuances of many coloquial expressions is impossible --specially when space is limited as in subtitling--, in many fields it is possible to

a) Include alternates when the term is first presented.

b) Alternate between the two or more target terms in the subsequent text.

When space and style is important, you need to make sacrifices.


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Antonio Ferreira
Brazil
Local time: 23:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Spanish from Latin America Dec 14, 2004

Hi there,
this is an endless discussion.
I myself prefer Chilean Spanish....It is clear and it does not sound Italian (nothing against).
I guess another plain Spanish from South America is from Uruguay...not too many slangs and it is clear also.
Probably because i had serious problems visitng Buenos Aires in Argentina....felt like an E.T.....felt like speaking English all the time.
My listening skills were bad...
Antonio,
Brazil


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David Jessop  Identity Verified
Spain
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
guagua comes from Kichwa/Kechwa Dec 18, 2004

In Ecuador, at least, guagua (baby or child) comes from the Kichwa language which is the same family as Kechwa and I believe has the same word. It is used in the general vernacular though.

David

Gerard Michael Burns wrote:

Tresa wrote:
You can choose a Latin American (not Spain) version and look carefully on every word which you use - that it has no regional character. This will be a good, but very, very hard work.
One example: the word baby.
In Spain would be bebé
in most Southamerican countries would be guagua.
But in Puerto Rico guagua is a vehicle.
So you use lactante and every body will be fine. I hope so)


In Paraguay, "guagua" is not used for anything, we say "bebé", and if "guagua" were even recognized as Spanish, it would seem extremely foreign.
What's worse, "guagua" sounds very much like the Guarani word "Jagua", which means, "dog". (and we all know this word even if 20% of us aren't fluent in Guarani)

So don't use "guagua" in Paraguay -especially if you are talking about breastfeeding.

Michael Burns


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Monica Colangelo  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:13
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm dumbfounded! Jan 11, 2005

[quote]aferreira34 wrote:


Hi
I guess another plain Spanish from South America is from Uruguay...not too many slangs and it is clear also.
Probably because i had serious problems visitng Buenos Aires in Argentina....felt like an E.T.....felt like speaking English all the time.

Hi Antonio:

I am really very surprised with your comments. If you understood Spanish in Uruguay there is no reason whatsoever why you should have had any trouble in Buenos Aires. Honestly, if there are two countries where exactly the same type of Spanish is spoken, those are Uruguay and Argentina. A Uruguayan and an Argentinean may talk for hours before finding out they were not born on the same side of the Río de la Plata.


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Rodolfo Raya  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:13
English to Spanish
Argentine and Uruguayan Spanish are different Jan 27, 2005

trixiemck wrote:
Honestly, if there are two countries where exactly the same type of Spanish is spoken, those are Uruguay and Argentina. A Uruguayan and an Argentinean may talk for hours before finding out they were not born on the same side of the Río de la Plata.


Hi,

I was born and lived in Argentina all my life. My wife is Uruguayan and we currently live in Montevideo. I can say, from personal experience, that Spanish is not the same on both sides of the Rio de la Plata.

When one of my kids entered an Uruguayan school in 2003 after studying a couple of years in Argentina, he was lost. Too many new words for him.

Regards,
Rodolfo


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