Spanish is a complicated language, it is tough to learn as well as translate. But even if one does not take that into account, there are complexities arising out of the wide reach of the language. Spanish serves as the official language in over 20 countries and has more than 350 million native speakers all over the world. So it is natural for the language to have variations across the different regions where it is spoken.
If you only consider Latin America, you will find about five distinct dialects of Spanish. Now these dialects are not very different from each other and people speaking different dialects can certainly understand each other. But then there are chances of misinterpretation due to the presence of differences, especially in the case of translations.
Broadly speaking there are three categories of differences that one can come across in Spanish as spoken in Spain, and as spoken in Latin America. They involve grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. The following are a few samples –
Grammatical differences – The use of pronoun for second person singular is different in Spain (‘Tu’) and in Latin America (‘Vos’). The plural form of the same in Spain is ‘vosotro’ while in Latin American countries it is ‘ustedes’.
Vocabulary differences – Consider the Spanish word for computer- in Spain it is called ‘ordenador’ while in Latin America it is referred to as ‘computadora’. In the case of glasses used for reading, the Spanish word is ‘gafas’. Latin America uses two words for the same- in Argentina it is called ‘anteojos’ while in Venezula people use the word ‘lentes’ for it.
Pronunciation differences – There are remarkable differences in the way native Spanish speakers from Spain and those from Latin America pronounce various letters. For example, those coming from Spain usually pronounce ‘z’ as “th” while Latin American pronounce it as ‘s’, the result of this is the Spaniards have a stronger accent when compared to Spanish speakers in Latin America.
The above makes for a tiny part of the differences that exist across the different dialects of Spanish. Keeping that in mind, whether you are a buyer of Spanish translation or a Spanish translation professional, you should keep in mind that you have to first make sure which dialect of Spanish language your target readers use, and then tailor your translation project accordingly.