Neutral Spanish: please, guidelines
Thread poster: Maria Asis

Maria Asis  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:24
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 23, 2016

Hi colleagues,

I'm seeing an increasing number of job offers with the language Neutral Spanish. I already gave up in making some clients aware that this does not exist, though I understand their interest (economic savings).

So, is there a definition of Neutral Spanish eventually? Don't use "ordenador" and use "PC" instead? Some guidelines in this regard?

Best regards,

María José Asís
www.wordswithpower.io


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:24
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Standard Jun 23, 2016

Hello, Maria.

This "neutral Spanish" (aka "standard Spanish"?) might be the *academic (non technical or highly specialized) written* Spanish. Of course, there is not a full correlation, but I dare to say that this Spanish would be globally understood by regular readers/speakers.

Just search for and read some legal documents from Guinea Ecuatorial, for instance. There are very few differences with Spanish from Spain if the subject doesn't involve localisms.

I hope this helps.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Carolina Garrido  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:24
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
Links Jun 23, 2016

Hi, Maria

This is a short video that explains what "español neutro" is. The guy wrote a book about it and has some videos explaining materials from the book. I took a course that included some more links some time ago and I will try and find them for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq8g4pcux4E

Like Susana says, it would be globally understood by regular readers/speakers. To be honest, and even though I do translate to "español neutro" sometimes, I am not too sure it really exists or if it is indeed something desirable. But, as you say, I can also understand the client´s point of view.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1603181-el-espanol-neutro-de-verdad-existe

[Edited at 2016-06-23 15:25 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Happens in English, too Jun 23, 2016

My translation clients are normally happy to accept British-but-not-too-British texts. But when I'm revising texts I very often come across a mix of British and American along with interference from any number of other languages. I always check with the client but often they're very vague and want "standard". I remind them they've contacted a Brit so they normally plump for that.

A current client's text included the words "mom and pop". I can't remember the exact context but it was a mobile app and "mother and father" just wouldn't have done. AFAIK, "mum and dad" sounds alien to an American native speaker so I was a little stymied on that one. "Fill out" was far easier as rather than changing it to the British "fill in", I used "complete" as that fitted well.

Just a couple of examples of very, very many. But this thread is about Spanish so don't let me derail it! I just wanted to make the point that you are not alone.

I only speak poor Canarian Spanish at the moment but I was surprised at the difference in Mexico: zumo:jugo, tirar:jalar etc. They didn't seem to understand guagua either.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marina Menendez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 16:24
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pink flying pig Jun 23, 2016

Neutral Spanish doesn´t exist. Period.

The more academic or formal, the more neutral. Right.

First, we should avoid terms that have negative or sexual connotations in some Spanish-speaking countries.

Second, choose equivalents by frequency of use.

Third, let´s keep educating clients.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It is impossible to please everyone... Jun 24, 2016

...but we can try.

We are extremely lucky that our language is pretty much standardised everywhere in terms of spelling and grammar. This is the result of the work of the Asociación de Academias, and we will never thank them enough.

I wish we linguists were more open when it comes to spelling changes aimed towards making our language even more unified. I would not mind saying "video" and stop saying "vídeo" if that helped, the same way I did not mind to stop writing "guión." Especially we Spaniards should learn to be more flexible in these matters, for sheer demographic reasons. Unified spelling and grammar is a true asset we should cherish and promote.

Now, to produce this "neutral Spanish" you simply have to learn the differences between European Spanish and Spanish in America, and will have to find a way to avoid specific expressions, words, or grammar that is specific for each of the regions and then find a truce between them all without stepping on anybody's toes too much. There is ample information about Spanish in Spain vs. Spanish in America in the web.

As for whether "neutral Spanish" exists, contra facta non valent argumenta: there are a lof of people translating into "neutral Spanish" on a daily basis, so it does exist. It is not standardised between translators, that I concede.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
United Nations Jun 24, 2016

Look at UN's website. Below I reproduce a fragment from my MA in Institutional Translation:

"El español neutro
Por último, ten en cuenta que en Naciones Unidas se prefiere el empleo de español internacional o neutro. Este es un conocimiento experto que, como lingüista, deberás adquirir si quieres trabajar más allá de los límites de Europa. Naturalmente, los traductores de la Unión Europea usan español ibérico porque España es el único país de la UE cuya lengua oficial es el español.
Pero España solo alberga al 10% de la población hispanohablante del mundo —que se aproxima a los 500 millones de habitantes— y solo es un país, sobre un total de 21 naciones en las cuales el español es lengua oficial o vehicular, sin contar a las que lo usan como segunda lengua.
El español neutro es una variante artificial, una lengua no natural que privilegia la función comunicacional sobre otros registros (expresivo, poético, local), de uso casi exclusivamente escrito (aunque se está extendiendo su empleo en la traducción audiovisual), y que resulta de la desregionalización léxica y morfosintáctica del español a través de su dispersión geodialectal.
Un error muy común para los españoles es creer que el español neutro consiste en decir las cosas como «en América latina»; los traductores latinoamericanos, por su parte, tienden a creer que el español neutro es «decir las cosas más como en España». Ambos dan cuenta de una suerte de extrañamiento que implica despojarse de formas locales y acercarse, no a la lengua de otra región, sino a un idioma que sea lo más transversal posible.
Para decirlo de manera esquemática, el español neutro resulta de tomar el acervo total de lengua y restarle: 1) los regionalismos de cualquier índole; 2) las voces que significan cosas distintas en diferentes países; 3) las formas gramaticales asociadas a regiones minoritarias; 4) los términos que no se conocen o emplean en otros países y tienen un sinónimo neutralizado comprensible por la mayoría; 5) los términos que pueden resultar ofensivos, inconvenientes o conflictivos en ciertas regiones.
5
Naturalmente, el español neutro no es la panacea universal ni sirve para todas las tipologías textuales. Es más, en ciertos contextos puede restar valor en lugar de crearlo. Sin embargo, en entornos que exigen unión en la diversidad, este artificio resuelve problemas comunicacionales (facilitar la comprensión para llegar a acuerdos claros) y de gestión (evitar el encargo de muchas traducciones a variantes de un mismo idioma) en la producción de documentos y textos institucionales."


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Examples Jun 24, 2016

If you have to translate "it was spot on", in Spain you could say "dio en el clavo". However, this expression might not be valid for all LATAM countries. Therefore, "acertó" would be preferred.

Another example would be "to take a train". In Spain you can say "coger el tren", but it would sound odd in LATAM countries, due to different connotation associated with the verb "coger". Therefore, "tomar el tren" would be preferred.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marina Menendez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 16:24
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Clarito como el agua Jun 25, 2016

Thanks for the link, Merab.

Merab Dekano wrote:

If you have to translate "it was spot on", in Spain you could say "dio en el clavo". However, this expression might not be valid for all LATAM countries. Therefore, "acertó" would be preferred.

Another example would be "to take a train". In Spain you can say "coger el tren", but it would sound odd in LATAM countries, due to different connotation associated with the verb "coger". Therefore, "tomar el tren" would be preferred.




Yes, frequency of use is one of the main parameters to translate into internallly-understandable-not-so-country-specific-Spanish.

"Dar en el clavo" is widely used in LatAm.

Definitely, "coger" is not an option (as regards translation) in many Latin American countries.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Neutral Spanish: please, guidelines

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search