Translate this document into Spanish please…

This is a request that seems very simple on first glance, but a request that only ever leads to one question; “which type of Spanish do you need”?

So you think you speak Spanish?

I studied Spanish at both school and University, and during my final year of study, I thought that it was a great idea to visit Barcelona and showcase my Spanish language skills.

I was baffled though when, after 8 years of studying, I could not understand the barcelonés when they spoke to me.

Had I completely forgotten everything that I had been taught? Was I going to fail all of my Spanish exams when I returned to University? There were so many awful thoughts going through my head, until one of the locals spoke to me in Castilian (European Spanish) not Catalan (the language of Barcelona and other regions of Spain, Italy, France and Andorra) and explained the difference between the two languages, and suddenly I felt much more at ease. However, I was now intrigued as to how many different types of Spanish there actually are, and the answer is – quite a few!

A truly global language

Spanish is the spoken language in countries such as the Philippines, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Spain, and it is certainly a language where the phrase “one size fits all” does not apply.

It is the second most widely spoken language in the world, and the countries in which it is spoken are so culturally diverse, so why would the way in which it is spoken and written not differ too?

Localisation of Spanish and ensuring that we use the correct version of the language, not only ensures that we are taking into account the correct use of words, but also ensures that we are taking into account cultural sensitivities. This is something extremely important to bear in mind when marketing a company in Spanish speaking countries, exporting products or even liaising with clients within these countries.

Some examples of variations within Spanish

Here are a few simple examples of how different the language variations can be, and how certain cultural aspects in one country, may not exist in another.

‘You’ singular, in Castilian Spanish = tú

‘You’ singular, in Argentinian Spanish = vos (and uses its own set of verb forms)

‘Juice’ in Castilian Spanish = “zumo”

‘Juice’ in Latin American Spanish = “jugo”

In Colombia and Venezuela people eat “arepas”, which is a cooked maize dough. This word does not exist in other Spanish speaking countries, as this food type does not exist. The same applies to “papa rellena” – this is only found in Latin America, and if a European Spaniard were to translate a Southern American recipe book for example, these words might mean very little to them.

This highlights the importance of using native-speaking linguists, as they are aware of these types of local nuances, cultures and the ever changing language which is used day by day.

You are an expert in what you do, and we will help you to reflect this in the translated content by working with you and translating into only the most suitable language, or variation there-of.


Alicia is an Account Manager for the Manufacturing and Engineering industries. Outside of work she enjoys the outdoors, running, biking and walking but when she has to stay inside you can find her in the kitchen cooking up a feast or planning her next adventure.

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