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Is there such a thing as Universal Spanish?

What is Latin American Spanish? Can’t I just get one Spanish translation to work in all countries? Is there such a thing as Universal Spanish? And what is this Spanish for the US?

Although regarded as an easy language to learn, translating into Spanish can turn into one of the most complicated decisions for a company. Believe it or not, some of the most heated debates and discussions over proper terminology I have faced in my 7 years in the translation industry has been for Spanish. I always assumed it would be for much tougher languages like Japanese or Korean. The problem lies in the fact that Spanish is spoken in so many different countries across the globe.

Word Meanings often vary depending on the context and country, and not just for Spanish, but for English too. If I were to ask someone for the meaning of garage, an English speaker from the UK is likely to say this is the place where we get gas for your car. An American, on the other hand, would say it this is where you park your car. For this reason it’s essential to understand who makes up your audience and target market. With just those little differences between England and the US, some of which you are probably familiar with, imagine the multitude of differences that exist in Spanish. There are 21 countries with a total of 423 million people who speak Spanish, making it one of the most difficult languages to translate. Each country has its own unique culture and dialect, which can vary widely depending on the region but are still similar enough to be understood and considered the same language.

So, don’t get confused when you are in a Latin American country and want a straw for your drink and a straw in Colombia and Venezuela is “pitillo” but “popote” in Mexico and ”pajita” or “pajilla” in Spain but “bombilla” in Chile and Bolivia, even though “bombilla” means light bulb in most Spanish-speaking countries, and “caña” in Peru which is some slang term in Venezuela. Also, when looking for a swimming pool in most Spanish-speaking countries you should ask about the “piscina” but in Mexico you’ll need to ask about the “alberca” and the “pileta” in Argentina. Wow. With all that said, I hope on a hot day in some Latin American country we helped you find a pool and get a straw for that cold drink you’ll need.

With this being said, ask yourselves what is universal Spanish? Or what about US Spanish when we do not only have Mexicans who make up the US Spanish speaking population, but also many Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans? And how is it possible to have Latin America Spanish when there are over 15 countries with 15 or more different cultures on the entire continent that spans a vast region.

Therefore, it’s critical to know your audience in order to transmit an accurate message. It’s also critical that if you want to use one translation to reach many different Spanish speaking regions and countries, it’s best to work with a professional translation agency who understands the challenges and can provide you with experts and leading translators from multiple countries. Working with speakers for several countries ensures that terminology for is specific to one country would be flagged and amended in favor of a more neutral one. This is just one tactic that LingPerfect employs when completing “Universal Spanish” translations.

 

We are finally ISO Certified!

After many months of hard work we are very happy to announce… LingPerfect is now ISO certified!

What is ISO Certification? Why does it matter? Why do people pull their hair out for months on ends checking off boxes and jumping through hoops to get it? For those of you who aren’t aware, we’ve put together a very short overview below.

The International Organization for Standardization or better known as ISO was founded in 1947. It is an international standard-setting body formed by representatives from various national standards organizations.

When ISO began in 1926 as the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA), it only concentrated in mechanical engineering. These days they have published more than 19,500 International Standards covering almost all aspects of technology and business, from food safety to computers, agriculture to healthcare. Once a company is ISO certified it ensures that products and services are safe, reliable and high quality.

ISO certification is not easy to obtain and there are eight very important steps a company must perform to acquire this certification:

Get commitment from top management to ensure success.

Train all employees on the basics of quality.

Prepare your quality policy manual.

Document operating procedures.

Perform an internal audit.

Select an ISO certification agency to use.

Have the certification agency perform the audit.

If you pass the audit, congratulations!

With our ISO 9001 certification, you will be guaranteed a high level of quality assurance at every stage of your project. Our ISO 9001 certification qualifies that our internal systems are effective, consistent and efficient. The second certification, EN 15038, reflects the dedication to customer service that is built into our systems. It shows that we strive to meet the highest expectations and requirements for all our customers with every project.

An additional reason ISO certification is significant, is that in certain industries, such as pharmaceuticals, translations must be completed be ISO certified companies. This requirement is laid out in the regulatory guidelines for this industry. The reasons behind the guidelines are perfectly understandable if you recognize this industry is one that must follow strict processes and procedures to produce high quality, safe, effective products. Working with an ISO certified company gives the added reassurance that there won’t be extremely dangerous or costly mistakes from mistranslations.

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