- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 20/08/2015
Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language − after Mandarin, English, and Hindustani − and is arguably the most translated language in the world.
This Romance language, originally spoken in northern Spain, gradually became the principal language of government and trade in the European country.
As the Spanish Empire expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries, the language spread to the Americas, Africa and Asia Pacific. There are now over 400 million people around the world who speak Spanish as their native language, and it is the official language in 21 countries. The Spanish-speaking population in the United States has been steadily growing, to the point that it ranks third in terms of Spanish-speaking population.
Although Spanish is arguably one of the easiest languages to translate for generic subjects, it poses more problems than translating into German, French or Japanese for technical texts. This is due to the well-known multiple “varieties” of Spanish. The Spanish spoken in the countries of Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula are significantly different. Although most Spanish speakers can perceive the various forms, the key when drafting a text for the general Spanish-speaking world is to select the most recognisable term.
For example: To refer to a tank for liquids, Spaniards would prefer “depósito”, whereas others may prefer “tanque”. What to do? “Recipiente” in some cases may be a more generic and acceptable term appropriate for all.
For more examples and information read Spanish Translation Twists part 2