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Important things to consider if you’re localizing your business in Spanish

Spanish is the world’s second most spoken native language and the official language of 21 countries. If you’re looking to crack into the Spanish market, here are some factors to consider for your localized marketing strategy.

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash – Do you know what this Spanish phrase says?

Spoken by 559 million people worldwide, Spanish ranks as one of the most important business languages. It’s a language that is becoming increasingly globalised as it is commonly regarded as the most understood language in the western hemisphere next to English. With today’s global market, the use of Spanish online has risen by 800%. From eCommerce services to website localization, if you’re looking to enter the Spanish market, there are specific factors that need to be considered based on the Spanish region you’re looking to enter.

History of the Spanish language

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Photo from Wikimedia – The front of the Royal Spanish Academy in Madrid

Like other languages that developed in Europe, the Spanish language emerged as a dialect of spoken Latin in the Iberian Peninsula which is where modern-day Spain and Portugal are now located. The language developed further when the Arab armies invaded the peninsula in 711. The invasion brought with it Arabic art, culture, and architecture which had a strong influence on the area and language. Arabic began to mix with the old Spanish which resulted in the Spanish language that we know today. Spain expelled the Arabs in 1492 but the Spanish language managed to retain some 8,000 Arabic words. Words like la almendra (almond) or la almohada (pillow) have come from the Arabic language. 

After the Arabs left in 1492, the Spaniards started colonizing which is how the language came to the Americas. The first European settlements in the US were established by Spain in what is now modern-day Florida which is why Spanish was the historical language of many of the southern States during that time. With the annexation of these states, the main language eventually changed to English but Spanish is still used and spoken widely even in these areas today. 

The Spanish Empire also expanded its colonization to other places such as the Philippines in 1521. The Spanish controlled the island until 1898. Today while only 0.5% of people in the Philippines speak Spanish, it is still home to the most number of Spanish speakers in Asia. 

Today, the Spanish language is maintained and safeguarded at The Royal Spanish Academy located in Madrid. The academy started in the 18th century and helped to create dictionaries and grammar books that have since been adopted and used by other Spanish-speaking countries. The academy invented the use of the inverted question and exclamation marks that are specific to the Spanish language as well as the letter ñ.

European Spanish vs. Latin American Spanish

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Photo from Pixabay – The Spanish and Argentinian flags.

European Spanish is centred in Spain while Latin American Spanish speakers are located in the lower part of North America, Central, and South America. In Latin America, the Spanish language is just called español, since the language itself was brought over by colonisers. In Spain, however, the language is called castellano, which refers to the Castile province in Spain where the language is believed to have originated. Another reason why Spanish is called castellano in Spain is that there are other Spanish dialects within Spain such as Catalan, Galician, and Basque.

If you’re creating a localization strategy in one or more of these Spanish speaking areas it’s important to note that there will be regional and cultural language distinctions. Here are just a few important aspects to consider. 

A key difference: pronouns – vosotros and ustedes

The pronouns vosotros and vosotras (you) are only used in Spain, making this one of the key differences between Spain and Latin America. Vosotros is an informal means of address whereas ustedes would be used professionally or formally in Spain. Since vosotros doesn’t exist in Latin American Spanish, ustedes is used in both formal and informal means of address. 

If you’re looking to create a formal business presence in Spain this is an important distinction as if you use the incorrect pronouns on, say, your website localization, your business platform may not be taken seriously. 

Vos vs tú

Like vosotros in Spain, the pronoun vos (your) is used in Argentina, Paraguay and Uraguay instead of tú.

Past tense

Likely due to the influences of surrounding European languages, Spaniards use past tense differently than Latin Americans. In Spain, you’re more likely to hear about a completed action using the present perfect tense, whereas in Latin America they are more likely to use the simple past, which is similar to English. 

Examples of vocabulary differences 

English
Spain
Latin America
penbolígrafo or bolipluma or lapicera
car cochecarro or auto
peachmelocotóndurazno
cell phonemóvilcelular


Pronunciation difference

The pronunciation of the Z and C (before I or E) is different between the two Spanish-speaking regions. In Spain, these letters are pronounced with a “th” sound while in Latin America, an “s” sound. 

In parts of Argentina and Uruguay, the double LL and Y sounds are pronounced like an English “sh” sound while Spaniards would pronounce them with a “y” sound. 

Further, there are also differences in the way that people speak depending on the region. Argentinians are said to have a sing-song type of accent while Colombians have a neutral sounding accent. 


Things to consider when creating a localization strategy for spanish

  • Know your primary market

As this article details, there are a variety of differences within the Spanish language based on where it is spoken. A good localization strategy will understand its target audience and know what pronouns, tone, and vocabulary to use when marketing.

  • Consider neutral spanish

Since 21 different countries speak Spanish, if you’re a company that is looking to break into a few of them, you could take a different localization approach by using what’s called neutral Spanish. Every country that speaks Spanish will have its own cultural nuances and differences so to help ease the localization process, many companies use neutral Spanish in their strategies. Neutral Spanish, or standard or international Spanish as its sometimes referred to, is the process of using terms and vocabulary that are universally understood by all Spanish speakers. This process would include avoiding idioms that might be specific to one region and not another or words that aren’t specifically used in day-to-day speech but are appropriate enough for marketing purposes and general understanding. Neutral Spanish might be appropriate for your business if you have a high amount of technical content that needs translation or if you’re just getting started and are looking for a cost-effective translation solution.

  • Select the right localization agency

The use of localization and translation services is a key factor of success for any marketing strategy. A localization agency can help you determine what approach you should take when entering the Spanish market, if specific transcreation or localization is necessary, or if a neutral Spanish approach would better suit your business needs.

Into23 offers localization and translation services from websites to eLearning platforms and more. Our quality translation and advertising transcreation specialists can help you reach any Spanish market and localize your business to get the best return on your investments. Contact into23 tpday to find out more.

7 important steps to consider for your eLearning localization

When it comes to eLearning localization here’s what you need to know to get it right.

eLearning has become an important part of many people’s lives, especially since the pandemic. eLearning platforms have become increasingly popular as a means of acquiring new skills, knowledge, and certifications from anywhere in the world. This global appeal means that if you want to make your eLearning platform international, certain factors need to be considered when translating and converting your courses successfully into other languages.

What is eLearning localization and why is it important?

 

eLearning localization

eLearning localization is essential

eLearning localization is more than just a direct translation of words, it’s about transforming your courses and platform so that everything about it suits your target audience in terms of their language, social constructs, and culture. eLearning localization helps bridge cultural differences in your courses while helping students acquire and retain knowledge more efficiently and effectively.

What should be localized?

Unlike document translation, there is a lot to consider when localizing your eLearning platform. Here are some major aspects that should be addressed,

  • All written text and content
  • Fonts 
  • Graphics, images, photos, and symbols
  • Audio and video
  • Tone of audio narration
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) and formatting (e.g. date formats)
  • Units of measurement, dates, and currency
  • Idioms and abbreviations (if used, though best avoided to start with)
  • User experience elements (e.g. navigation buttons)

Key planning steps for eLearning localization

1 – Plan for localization early 

Often an afterthought, the need for localization should be identified and planned right from the creation stages as pre-planning makes the localization process run a lot more smoothly. 

When creating your eLearning courses, here are a few ways to make them more localization-friendly,

  • If possible, keep multimedia minimal and keep graphics simple. 
  • Consider the use of neutral humanoid images wherever possible making the character images relatable no matter what region or culture. 
  • Test your font’s compatibility to ensure that it is compatible with your other target languages as it may not be supported.
  • Avoid using humour and idioms as these can be difficult to translate into other languages.

2 – Know your target audience

It is essential to know the audience you are seeking to reach in every area that you want to localize in. Researching is required to learn about a region’s language nuances, cultural preferences, tone and even spelling variations. This can affect everything from colour and image choices, your selection of eLearning voice-overs, and how you approach culturally sensitive topics. Hiring eLearning localization services is an easy way to ensure you nail this step. 

3 – Expansion and contraction

As each language is unique, one of the major features you need to pay attention to when localizing is the expansion and contraction that occurs when transcribing certain languages. This is important because it can affect the general layout of your course and its graphical elements.  

This is especially important when translating Chinese Mandarin to English as text may contract by up to 20-50%! The opposite happens when, say, you want to translate from German to English the text expands anywhere from 10-30%. If you have audio and video content these issues also apply. So be sure to consider this when putting together your courses. 

4 – Graphics and other visuals

eLearning voice over localization

Even items such as the tone of audio narration and translation needs to be considered when localizing your courses

While some symbols and images are universally understood some may need to be reworked for successful media localization. Items that often get missed include navigation buttons, speech bubbles, and progress bars, animations, and colour selections. Take a look at the colour white, for example, and how differently it is viewed depending on the culture. In the West, the colour white can signify purity and cleanliness but in many Asian countries, the colour white can be associated with death and bad omens. These seemingly small aspects can be the defining features that draw the line between a successfully localized eLearning platform and one that is not. 

5 – Focus on language AND design

eLearning translation is sometimes the easiest part of a localization strategy but one of the defining features of localization is that it needs to be all-encompassing to reach the native audience of an area. Design features and choices need to be considered when building eLearning courses. For example, say your original course video was created for the UK market and you’ve translated all the text and audio content for the Latin American market, however, the video graphics remain unchanged. Say in the video a man snaps his fingers as he recollects something. If you plan to deliver this content in Latin America you might end up with a few confused learners as the gesture of snapping one’s fingers in Latin America is a way of asking someone to hurry up. 

Design features also include the user interface and the choice of colours and fonts as previously mentioned. Failure to consider these items will lead to ineffective and easily misinterpreted course content. 

6 – Technical considerations

eLearning localization technical considerations

Want the localization process to move faster? You can help out your localization agency with these technical considerations

If you want things to move fast and smoothly in the translation process, be sure that all of your eLearning content is in appropriate editing formats and source files. This includes videos, images, audio, presentations etc. This helps avoid the need to start anything from scratch which saves not only time but also money. 

7 – Use multilingual translation services

If each of these steps feels overwhelming, it’s because you need the best translation services company for a partner that can walk you through this process. Don’t sell your elearning translation content short, get help from qualified localization companies, like Into23.

Into23 can translate and localize to any language you need to get the most out of your eLearning platform in the global market. Contact us today for a free quote. 

5 Tips for translating a press release

Here are the best ways to reach new audiences in other languages with your press releases.

Got big news to share? As a business, if you want to get the word out one of the most consistent and reliable ways of making such an announcement is with a press release or a press statement. However, things can feel a bit more complicated if you need to translate your press release into one or more languages. Here’s how to garner the most attention and reach a wider audience with your translated press releases. 

What is a press release?

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Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels – Press releases are quick and informative ways to reach your target audience with new information or products.

A press release is usually a short announcement, often only a few paragraphs, that is aimed at the media or target audience that is meant to inform and release essential information. Press releases often market new products or services or even celebrate a businesses success or new venture. Press releases are meant to be shared widely, encourage conversation, as well as entice and create excitement about whatever it is you’re announcing which calls for an engaging and concise writing style. This same feel and writing approach needs to carry across when you translate your press release too.

Why press releases are important for business?

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Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels – Spreading information about your product and business is an effective way to get your target audience to take notice of you.

Press releases are one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your business in a manner that fits with your company. Press releases hold the voice of your business with the information you deem important and in the right hands can create a lot of buzz, especially with the use of social media and digital marketing. Some types of press releases include items such as a grand opening press release, event press release, a product launch press release, a new promoted CEO, or a company amalgamation or merger.  Sending press releases to the right media streams can drum up a lot of positive attention which in turn will equal sales and revenue. However, a badly done or poorly translated press release can spell bad news for any product launch or formal business announcement.

Why you should translate your press releases?

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Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels – Reaching a wider audience with your press release increases chances of garnering new business.

If you’re an international company, you know the importance of localization and translation services. Localization is when you cater your businesses’ content to the native language in the area. Localization goes beyond a literal translation as it takes into consideration the region where the language is spoken, cultural nuances, the beliefs and values of the target market, as well ensuring that your businesses content carries the same meaning and importance in translation. Localization is an important part of any marketing strategy as consumers are more likely to purchase something if it is advertised in their native language.

Related: The Top 10 Translation Blunders in Advertising

The best tips for translating a press release:

1.Focus on a target audience

Before you even get started writing a press release, you need to know your target audience. Start by asking what your public relations aims are, who exactly are you trying to reach, and what you expect to achieve. If that goal is to reach an audience that uses a different language or region that is outside what your business normally practices in, not only will you need to localize your press release, but you’ll need to find appropriate press release distribution and or media outlet to spread the word.

2.Localize

Localization is needed if you want your international content to reach different local markets. That will mean that if you’re planning on releasing a press release in more than one language, you’re going to need each of those releases to be localized for that region and language for best results.  Localization ensures that your message is well received by your target audience as it will be sensitive to the cultural uniqueness and values of that area while ensuring your company’s message still carries the same meaning and impact and that you meet the area’s local regulations and requirements.

  • This might include changing your company name or slogan for the targeted region to ensure your brand is consistent and has the same meaning in the new language.
  • It’s also important that the wording and message in your original release is as clear as possible to avoid confusion during translation.
  • Don’t forget any media, images, or captions you’ve attached to the press release as they’ll need to be localized too.

3.Avoid acronyms

While acronyms help keep documents concise it’s best to avoid them when translating or localizing a press release as they may not translate well. An occasion where an acronym might work is if the company name has already been localised for that region, however, it’s always best to consult with a localization agency to make sure.

4.Time your distribution

To make the most of this newly translated press release, ensure that it is released in a timely fashion and within the local time of the region you’re looking to gain traction in. Be mindful of time zone differences and local holidays that might differ from your own.


5.Use expert industry translators

International translation companies are experts in different areas of business so find a translation partner that knows your business as well as your target audience. Localization and translation services that are more attuned to your industry will be able to offer quality translations that are quick and efficient while also ensuring a higher success and reach with your press release.

Into23 offer multilingual translation services and specialise in Asian languages to help companies break into the Asian market. Into23 offers a quick turnaround on marketing translation services such as press releases, website localization, ecommerce translation and more. Contact us today for a free quote and get in touch with one of our expert translators.