Many businesses understand the importance of communicating with Spanish-speaking audiences. However, the translation process can be complicated, especially when it comes to preserving style and tone.
For example, English marketing materials often use a lot of exclamation marks, which can come across as pushy and aggressive in Spanish. There are also differences in vocabulary, grammar and slang.
1. Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience will greatly impact the translation process. A technical translation will require a thorough understanding of the subject matter while a marketing deliverable will need to be more enthusiastic and engaging in tone.
You’ll also need to decide whether your translation should be based on a regional dialect and, in turn, the cultural nuances of that area. This will influence length and text density as well as formatting.
2. Know Your Subject
When collaborating with your PDFT.AI translator, be sure to include information about layout and images, and any text or character restrictions. Providing a style guide can also help your translator create a translation that is aligned with the tone and audience you are targeting.
For example, Spanish is more formal than English, and uses fewer courtesy words like please and thank you. This may affect how your message is received by your audience.
3. Know Your Words
Taking the time to learn about your target audience, language and culture is vital to ensure your content is accurate. This includes understanding what words mean and how they are put together, such as sentence structure and the order of vowels and consonants.
It’s also important to consider the cultural context of your content when choosing words for translation. For example, some English words can have different meanings in Spanish, like obtener and dress.
4. Know Your Grammar
Spanish isn’t the same as English, and grammar differences can affect how something is communicated. It’s important to know the differences, like how adjectives are placed in sentences and how questions and statements are formed.
You should also be aware of gendered nouns and how they are referred to. Also, a word’s meaning can change with its context and tempo.
5. Know Your Style
Providing clear instructions and context can help ensure that your translations are accurate, effective, and culturally appropriate. This may include establishing a glossary, style guides, or examples of previous translations.
English is a more grammatically dense language than Spanish, which can make it harder for translators to convey the intended meaning with the same word count. This can lead to awkward phrasing or even misinterpreted content.
6. Know Your Tone
It’s important to communicate your brand voice to a translation team when sharing your existing documentation. That way, they can curate your documents to ensure your localised tone of voice is preserved and understood.
For example, English uses a lot of courtesy words like please and thank you, but Spanish typically doesn’t. A translator’s choice of courtesy words can paint a completely different picture to your audience.
7. Know Your Grammar
The language of Spanish is incredibly rich, and there are many nuances that must be taken into account. One minor difference can alter the entire meaning of a sentence or passage.
Another consideration is length. A translation from English to Spanish will typically require up to 25% more space, and this needs to be accounted for in any design or character limitation.
8. Know Your Style
Speakers of one Spanish-speaking nation may interpret words and phrases differently from speakers in another. For instance, what might be considered everyday or innocuous language in some countries can become highly sexualized in others.
This can be avoided by providing clear instructions and context to translators, ensuring that they are aware of the cultural nuances that might affect the translation. Additionally, it is important to always proofread and have a second set of eyes review the work.
9. Know Your Grammar
For those who are new to learning Spanish, grammar can be confusing. Like English, Spanish sentences are formed with a subject, verb, and object. Adjectives, however, are placed after the word they describe.
Certain endings of words indicate the gender of a living thing (el gato is a male cat, la perra is a female dog). This can be tricky when translating into another dialect of Spanish.
10. Know Your Style
Oftentimes, words in English have different meanings in Spanish. So, it’s important for your team to understand your brand voice and tone and how to convey that in translation.
This is especially crucial when it comes to ensuring consistency in branding across languages. It also helps with the quality of the translations by ensuring that your translators are using terminology and sentence structure consistent with your company’s standards.