Why Spanish localisation is relevant for US companies

May 18, 2022

More than 500 million people worldwide speak Spanish. It is the official language in 21 countries and a significant minority language in four more territories, including the USA. These stats alone should make Spanish localisation a priority for any company looking to grow its reach. However, in this blog, we take a closer look at why it is particularly relevant for businesses in the USA.

Spanish flag

 

Spanish spoken close to home

Spanish may be spoken in countries worldwide, but for companies in the USA, it can also be found very close to home. In fact, Spanish has more speakers in the USA than in Spain itself! In the USA, it is the second most spoken language behind English, with more than 41 million people or 13% of the total population speaking it. Therefore, even when aiming to grow your home market, localising your content into Spanish could prove very valuable.

 

Just over the border in Mexico, you’ll find the Spanish-speaking nation with the highest population in the world. Data from 2014 recorded that from a population of 120 million residents, over 100 million primarily spoke Spanish.

 

Furthermore, alongside Europe, most Spanish-speaking countries can be found in South America and Latin America, including Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Costa Rica and Uruguay. Some creole languages are also based on Spanish, such as Papiamento, spoken in Aruba and the Caribbean.

 

So, not only is Spanish a globally spoken language, it is one which is very much relevant to audiences in and close to the USA.

Mexico City

 

Spanish localisation for the relevant market

In Spain, the modern Spanish spoken there today is officially known as Castilian Spanish. However, there are many different dialects of Spanish spoken across the world.

 

European Spanish includes:

  • Castilian
  • Andalusian
  • Murcian
  • Canarian

 

Meanwhile, the Latin American Spanish spoken in many South American countries also has several regional dialects, including Caribbean and Rioplatense Spanish.

 

In the USA, there are five main dialects of Spanish spoken:

  • Mexican (the most common)
  • Caribbean
  • Central American
  • Colonial
  • Spanglish

 

This great variety in the Spanish language highlights the vital importance of localisation. Broadly translating any communication into Spanish will reveal a lack of knowledge, understanding and care for that particular market.

 

For example, a key difference with Latin American Spanish is the use of the /s/ sound for words spelt with a z or c before e or i, compared to Castilian Spanish, which uses a /th/ sound. Incorrect usage of these sounds will quickly divulge a lack of understanding to your audience.

 

How to ensure your Spanish communication is appropriately localised

Localisation requires an up-to-date and in-depth understanding of the relevant culture. It is not just about applying the correct dialect but also understanding your audience’s expectations, experiences, and cultural norms. By working with professional, native and in-market linguists, Mission Translate can ensure your content is appropriately localised and received in the manner it was intended.

 

To learn more about how we can help your business connect effectively with its Spanish audiences, please get in touch with our team.

 

  • US: +1 (347) 391 0672

European Office:

Kandoy House, 2 Fairview Strand, Dublin 3, D03 R8P3

  • EU: +44 (0) 121 296 9870

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