European Spanish or Latin American Spanish Translation?

European Spanish or Latin American Spanish Translation?

If your company does business globally, you don't want to miss out on the Spanish-speaking market. Native speakers of Spanish now number 437 million. And when you include all Spanish speakers, the total reaches over 538 million world-wide. However, just like in English-speaking countries, the Spanish spoken from one region to another is not the same. So if you find yourself asking if your company needs European Spanish or Latin American Spanish Translation, you'll want to read on. 

Latin American versus European Spanish

Latin American Spanish refers to the Spanish spoken in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. European Spanish refers to Castilian, or the Spanish spoken in Spain and taught throughout Europe. European and Latin American Spanish differ in pronunciation, vocabulary, and in some cases, verb structure -- but most literate speakers from either region are able to understand the other with little difficulty. In some cases, however, cultural expressions, vocabulary words, and other regional differences may get in the way of understanding, So when you do business with a Spanish speaker from Latin America or Europe, you will want to make all documents available to them in the style of Spanish that best reflects the language of their region.

Structural differences

There are not a lot of structural differences (changes in the verb conjugations) when you compare the language of the two regions, but there are a few notable instances:

Spain: Vosotros

One of the main features of European or Castilian Spanish is the vosotros form. This form is a verb conjugation for the second-person plural in informal situations when speaking to a group. Most of Latin America, on the other hand, does not have two separate forms for expressing "you plural" and uses the ustedes form (third-person plural) when addressing a group under both formal and informal circumstances. 

The Southern Cone: Vos

The vos form is used in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay in the Southern cone of South America. This second-person singular conjugation evolved from the Castilian vosotros form. The result is a second person-singular conjugation that is different from the standard tú form.


A key feature of Castilian Spanish pronunciation is the zeta, where the speaker forces air between the tongue and front teeth when pronouncing the letter -c in front of certain vowels. The result is a sound similar to the American "th."

Vocabulary, cultural, and idiomatic expressions

Both Spain and Latin America have their own cultural vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. Most of these are recognizable to Spanish speakers outside the region. Once in a while, however, there may be room for misunderstanding. So when providing translations for your Spanish-speaking clients, you'll want to use translators who specialize in the Spanish that corresponds to your client's home region. 

Differences within Spanish-speaking regions

Finally, Spanish, like any other language, may vary from region to region within a single country. The differences are particularly evident when you compare slang, informal, or professional jargon in one area with that of another. 

Final words

When forging global business relationships in Spanish, use a translation company that offers localization services. These services will adjust the content to match the regional Spanish that your client is most familiar with. Cuttingedge Translation Services has language experts with years of experience in translating documents into Spanish that reflect the cultural and linguistic features of a given geographic region. For superior-quality translations in European or Latin American Spanish, please contact us.

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