Culture Is Part Of Spanish Translation

When you expand your business into a foreign country, you may not always be able to speak the language yourself. Even if you do have some proficiency in the language, choosing to do your business without a translator may not be the best choice. The problem is that simply saying what you want to say in your first language using words from your second language may not successfully communicate what you want to say. In other words, effective translation goes beyond a simple word-to-word conversion. 

Culture Informs Communication

Spanish culture has many differences as compared to English and these differences are reflected in the way people communicate. For example, English only has one word for "you." On the other hand, Spanish has two words "tu" and "usted." Tu is used for informal communication with friends or loved ones. Usted is used in formal situations. However, simply saying a business meeting is a formal situation may be too simplistic. If the person you are talking to uses "tu," this may be a sign that they are trying to extend the hand of friendship and/or show solidarity. Knowing whether you should then use "tu" in return requires using your understanding of the culture to read the situation. Thus, you should look for a translator who is familiar with Spanish culture in order to handle this and other situations that require an understanding of Spanish culture to navigate. 

Language Varies by Region

There is not just one Spanish language. Instead, you have each Central and South American country speaking its own variation on Spanish. What this means is that the words used in one country may have no meaning or an entirely different meaning in other countries. Thus, if you hire a translator who is used to working in Mexico, that translator may not be well-equipped to work in Argentina, for example. When you look into translators, make sure they have experience working in the country you plan to do business in. Such translators should know about local customs, regulations, and business practices in addition to understanding the nuances of the local language.

If you think of translation as finding the right words in the target language, then you may inadvertently trip over your words. At least, mishandling the language and culture will slow down communication; at worst, you may offend those you are trying to talk to and sabotage your own business deal. Thus, you need to make sure you find a translator who has experience with Spanish culture and the region where you plan to do business to make sure you put your best foot forward. 


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