Spanish Language

Spanish Language Characteristics. Spanish in the World.

Spanish is the most widely spoken of the Romance languages, both in terms of number of speakers and the number of countries in which it is the dominant language. Besides being spoken in Spain, it is the official language of all the South American countries except Brazil and Guyana, of the six republics of Central America, as well as of Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Additionally, it is spoken in parts of Morocco and the west coast of Africa, and also in Equatorial Guinea. In the United States it is widely spoken in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California (in New Mexico it is co-official with English), in New York City by the large Puerto Rican population, and more recently in southern Florida by people who have arrived from Cuba. A variety of Spanish known as Ladino is spoken in Turkey and Israel by descendants of Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492. All told there are about 350 million speakers of Spanish.

Pronunciation and usage of Spanish naturally vary between countries, but regional differences are not so great as to make the language unintelligible to speakers from different areas. The purest form of Spanish is known as Castilian, originally one of the dialects that developed from Latin after the Roman conquest of Hispania in the 3rd century A.D. After the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Spain was overrun by the Visigoths, and in the 8th century the Arabic-speaking Moors conquered all but the northernmost part of the peninsula. In the Christian reconquest, Castile, an independent kingdom, took the initiative and by the time of the unification of Spain in the 15th century, Castilian had become the dominant dialect. In the years that followed, Castilian, now Spanish, became the language of a vast empire in the New World.

Spanish vocabulary is basically of Latin origin, though many of the words differ markedly from their counterparts in French and Italian. Many words beginning with f in other Romance languages begin with h in Spanish (e.g., hijo-son, hilo-thread). The Moorish influence is seen in the many words beginning with al- (algodón-cotton, alfombra-rug, almohada-pillow, alfiler-pin). As in British and American English, there are differences in vocabulary on the two sides of the ocean (also in mainland Spain).

Spanish is spoken/used in the following countries: Argentina, Aruba (Dutch), Belize (British Honduras), Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Gibraltar (U.K.), Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Spain, St. Kitts (& Nevis) Independent, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (U.S.).

Language Family
Family: Indo-European
Subgroup: Romance

Question and exclamation marks: In Spanish there are opening question and exclamation marks, ¿ and ¡, which can appear right at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.

Measurements: Metric are the only official measurements. Imperial measurements must be converted into metric. However, there are some instances of the use of inches, such as in screen sizes.

Time: Spain uses the 24-hour clock, i.e. 10.00 / 15.00.

Date: The format is 25/08/99 or 25-08-99. Spanish uses a decimal comma (3,7%), and a dot after 999 (16.000).

Gender: Spanish has masculine and feminine genders. The gender affects nouns, adjectives, demonstratives, possessives and articles, but not verbs, e.g. Está cansada (She’s tired), Está cansado (He’s tired).

Plurals: Generally speaking, the plural is formed by adding ‘s’ to words ending in a vowel and by adding ‘-os’ or ‘-es’ to words ending in a consonant. This is however, governed by a set of rules.

One letter words: One letter words include: a, e (replaces ‘y’ (= and) before a word beginning with ‘i’), o, u (replaces ‘o’ (= or) before a word beginning with an ‘o’).

Capitalization: Occurs at the beginning of sentences and for proper names. Unlike English, days of the week/months of the year/languages/nationalities/managerial posts like gerente general, do not take a capital letter.

Double consonants: The only groups of two equal consonants are the following: cc, ll, nn, rr.

End-of-line hyphenation: With regard to end-of-line hyphenation, it is best to leave words whole in normal text and leave hyphenation for restricted text boxes, columns, etc. However, if absolutely necessary, a single consonant between two vowels joins the second. Hyphenation between two consonants applies. Examples: in-novador, ten-síon, ac-ceso. However, there are exceptions in the case of the following groups: pr, pl, br, bl, fr, fl, tr, dr, cr, cl, gr, rr, ll, ch (e.g., ca-ble, ma-cro, I-rracional). Between three consonants, the first two will go with the preceding vowel and the third with the following vowel (e.g., trans-por-te), except in the case of the aforementioned consonant groups, in which the first one will go with the preceding vowel and the third with the following vowel (e.g., im-presora, des-truir).

Avoid hyphenation: Between two vowels. When the result will appear rude (e.g., dis -puta, tor-pedo). It is advised that the last line in a paragraph contains more than four characters (punctuation marks included).

Tú and Usted: The familiar form of you is tú and verbs used with tú are conjugated in the 2nd person. The formal form of you is usted and verbs used with usted are conjugated in the 3rd person. The familiar form is used with friends or with people who are younger than you. The formal form is used when you speak Spanish with elders or people you don’t know.

Ser vs Estar: Two verbs in Spanish express “to be”: ser, and estar. In general, “ser” expresses permanent states, such as Soy alto (I am tall) or Somos de Argentina (We are from Argentina). Estar expresses temporary conditions, such as Estoy cansado (I am tired) or La calle está mojada (The street is wet).

How can you lower your translation costs?

Everybody who has ever needed to translate a document knows that translation costs can be expensive. There are several ways in which you can make your translation cheaper. In this article, we discuss tactics that can help you lower your quote by a good margin. All translation buyers can adhere to the following tips, and cut costs


Format
: The cheapest format is a plain text. If you have resources for formatting your document, email a Word document as formatting will need DTP and costs more. By doing so, you can get the translation done for cheap and then format it the way you want.


Target audience
: Instead of opting to translate your document for a specific audience, you can choose to translate it to reach a broader audience, by translating it to Neutral Spanish. By doing so, you can even pay less for your translation as it takes longer to search for a translators for a specific audience. Care has to be taken to make sure that when translating to Neutral Spanish terms that are easily understood by any Spanish speaker are used.


Certified Translation
: It is highly recommended that you only request for a certified and/or notarized translation only if you have to present the translation to an institution or organization that requires a certified translation as the translation will be more expensive.

Turnaround time: Urgent translations are charged higher. Provide time for the translation to be completed in order to avoid the extra costs charged for an urgent translation.


Volume
: Some agencies provide discounts for high volumes. It is advisable to send all the documents you need for translation when you require a quote or inform the amount of words that you expect to translate.

By following these tips, you can be sure to save a good deal and at the same time get your translation done in an efficient and reliable manner.

Calendar of translation events – June 2016

2
Being a Successful Interpreter. Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland

Panel on Natural Language Processing (NLP). Women in Localization, San Jose, California USA.

3

Symposium on Corpus Analysis in Legal Research and Legal Translation Studies.Transius,
Geneva, Switzerland

3-5

ABRATES VII. Brazilian Association of Translators (ABRATES), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3-9

2nd annual Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. Middlebury College. Ripton, Vermont USA

8-10

LocWorld Dublin. Localization World, Ltd. Dublin, Ireland

9

When Translation Meets Technologies. University of Portsmouth & Institute of Translation and Interpreting, Portsmouth, UK

9-10

4th International Conference on Game Translation and Accessibility. TransMedia Catalonia Research Group, Barcelona, Spain

10

10th Summer Institute of Jurilinguistics. Network of Jurilinguistics Centres, Montreal, Canada

10-12

Ukrainian Translation Industry Conference. InText Translation Company, Orlivshchyna, Ukraine

15-17

Audiovisual translation: dubbing and subtitling in the central European context. Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, Slovakia

16

Localization for the eBay Global Marketplace. The International Multilingual User Group (IMUG),
San Jose, California USA

17-18

Eighth Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpreting Forum. TAC, FIT, XISU, Xi’an, China

18-19

IJET-27- Japan Association of Translators, Sendai, Japan

PAPTRAD’s 1st International Translation and Interpreting Conference. Portuguese Translators & Interpreters Association (APTRAD). Porto, Portugal

20

SDL Translation Technology Insights. The future of technology within the translation industry. Online event.

23-24

Localization unconference. Localization unconference Team, Heidelberg, Germany

23-25

MLA International Symposia: Translating the Humanities. Modern Language Association,
Düsseldorf, Germany

29-July 1

Critical Link 8. Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies, Edinburgh, Scotland

Facts about the rapid growth of the Spanish language

Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Vice President of Spain, recently recalled the roots and history of the Spanish language. She noted the landmarks and influencers of the language that helped to grow Spanish around the world. Such ventures include the expeditions of Christopher Columbus and the philosophy of writers like Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez. Through this introduction she outlined fundamental aspects of Spanish that are key to understanding the growth of the language today.

  • Spanish is the first language of 470 million people around the world.
  • Forty-five of these 470 million people do not reside in a country where Spanish is the official language as there are only 21 countries who have Spanish as the official  language.
  • Forty-one million Americans are Spanish native speakers.
  • Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world and currently Spanish speakers represent 7.9% of the total population. This means that in the next generation one in ten people in the world will speak Spanish.
  • Spanish is the third language most used on the internet, with a total of 8% of users.
  • The use of Spanish in the internet grew more than 1,000% between 2000 and 2013.
  • There are approximately 20-25 million people around the world that study Spanish
  • The number of American university students enrolled in Spanish courses exceeds the total students enrolled in other languages.
  • In 2050, the United States will be the first Spanish-speaking country in the world.
  • An average of 185,000 Spanish books per year are produced throughout Spanish-speaking countries.

Questions to consider before becoming a freelance translator

You are working as an in-house translator and you are tired of fixed hours, bosses and travelling to your job

during rush hour. You might struggle with your schedule or not being able to choose what you translate. Is it
time to become an independent translator? Answer the following questions before you take the big
step:

1.  Are you going to make enough to meet your needs?

Most clients hire freelancers on a project-to-project basis. So you have to be proactive about budgeting.
Many freelance translators have permanent jobs elsewhere. So consider, would this role be fiscally
beneficial? Before committing, understand the hours you will spend on a project and if they will accurately
reflect the hourly payment you will receive.

2.   Are you willing to work alone?

If you are a person that works best in teams, freelance translation might not be for you. At times translation
can be a lonely job so it is important to reflect on the environment that you thrive in. If your ideal work space
is a company culture with direct colleague collaboration an organization with more co-workers would be a
better fit.

3.   Can you meet deadlines?

Freelance translators must be timely and detail-oriented. At times there will be an overload of projects so it is
important to be organized and plan ahead. If you are thinking of freelancing while keeping your current job,
beware that most companies will require you to be available during normal business hours which limits your
attention and time to other jobs you might have. You’ll need to be able to not only meet deadlines but
simultaneously insure those deadlines don’t interfere with other commitments.

4.   Can you be flexible and multitask?

This is the most important question to ask yourself. The key to freelance work regardless of the field, is
adaptability. However, multi-tasking does not mean overworking as this can lead to lack of quality. It means being able to work productively and independently because you won’t typically have a supervisor checking in with you on a regular basis.

5.  Do you have enough time to market yourself?

As a freelance translator, you will constantly be networking and searching for different opportunities.
Consequently, this outreach time adds up; especially when you are constantly educating yourself about new
markets, sending your CV to agencies or developing a marketing strategy. It is a good idea to to create your own
personal website and partner with other translators to better reach potential clients.

6.  Do you have samples of previous translations or references?

It is important that you are able to position yourself as a desirable candidate. In the translation industry,
a portfolio is a much better indicator of your abilities than a resume. Although some documents you translate
might be confidential, you can provide samples without mentioning your client’s name and include those
parts that will not reveal confidential information. Furthermore, you can use any translation you did during
your translation studies as a sample. Of course, past experience is not necessarily a requirement but it will
give you better chances.

Calendar of translation events – April 2016

3-7

International Conference on Interpretation National Association for Interpretation. Wellington, New Zealand.

12

Translating from the Margins: The Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities of Working with ‘Under-Represented’ Languages. The London Book Fair. London, UK.

13-15

LocWorld Tokyo. Localization World, Ltd. Tokyo, Japan.

15-16

bp16. Csaba Bán. Prague, Czech Republic.

19-20

TAUS Industry Leader’s Forum. TAUS. Tokyo, Japan.

21

Serge: Open Source Localization Platform from Evernote. The International Multilingual User Group (IMUG). Mountain View, California, USA.

21-22

ND Focus – Elia’s networking days for Executives. Elia (European Language Industry Association). Mallorca, Spain.

11th EUATC International Conference. European Union of Associations of Translation Companies. Budapest, Hungary.

21-24

6th Latin American Translation and Interpreting Congress. Colegio de Traductores Públicos de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CTPCBA). Buenos Aires, Argentina.

22-24

AILIA Annual Conference. AILIA Language Industry Association. Montreal, Canada.

28-30

Wordfast Forward 2016. Wordfast. Nice, France.

29-May 1

2016 International Medical Interpreters Conference. International Medical Interpreters Association Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

30

Практический семинар ProZ.com для начинающих переводчиков. Kharkov, UKR.

30-May 1

4th Durham Postgraduate Colloquium in Translation Studies. Durham University. Durham, UK.

What’s the difference between proofreading and editing?

You’ve thought up a spectacular story, your words flow with ease, you’ve finished your body of work, yet the process has just begun. Many people will argue that a written project has many layers. Dominick Dunne, an American writer and investigative journalist, once stated “even if you write it wrong, write and finish your first draft. Only then, when you have a flawed whole, do you know what you have to fix.”

proofreading and editing: differences

The process of fixing a draft is known as editing or proofreading. Although similar, these two terms are not the same. According to the Merriam-Webster, editing is “to prepare something written, filmed or recorded to be published or to make changes, corrections to mistakes, etc.” Whereas proofreading is “to read and correct mistakes in a written or printed piece of writing”.

From the dictionary definition, it is hard to differentiate the two; but there is a key difference.

Editing is going through and making grammatical changes such as grammatical errors and punctuation. Through this process, you are actually making changes physically to adjust the content. Editing takes a deeper look at how info is presented and can happen multiple times throughout the project.

Proofreading, on the other hand, happens towards the end of the process. Proofreading, in regards to the nature of the term, is reading for proof and credibility of the final product. Finding credible and cohesive content at large instead of commenting on minors errors in structure or grammar.

Although these terms are similar, they are not interchangeable. They are both equally crucial in the writing process. Without editing an author runs the risk of publishing a piece of work with errors in structure, tense, tone and grammar. And without proofreading it is possible to miss surface mistakes that were overlooked in the editing process. So make sure you’ve accomplished both steps of the process before your project is truly complete.

 

Is the comma on its way out?

comma use

It’s probably one of the most difficult forms of punctuation to get to grips with and, for some, it’s starting to be more and more unnecessary. The question is, will the comma will eventually die out completely in the future? Let’s take a look at the arguments…

Linguist and Columbia University professor John McWhorter is certainly in favor of putting commas to rest forever. His analysis of the subject falls into two broad categories. Firstly, according to McWhorter, it seems pretty fair to say that there’s no list of definitive rules that explain exactly when and why one should place a comma in a sentence.

William Strunk Jr.’s The Elements of Style is one of the most popular texts for comma use, still in use today. One of the rules laid down in this 100-year-old publication is that commas should “enclose parenthetic expressions” and come “before and or but” when introducing an independent clause.

Even so, as McWhorter quite rightly points out, Strunk was wandering around in a pair of spats when he wrote The Elements of Style and so little of what’s written in the publication needs to have very much to do with how we communicate today in our modern and highly technological society. With that in mind we can move on to the second category of analysis as laid out by McWhorter, that of the use of text messages, tweets and other kinds of conversational-style communications.

There’s simply no need for commas (indeed they take up valuable character space) in tweets. Even top-notch journalists who write for national and international publications choose to tweet without commas. It seems that there isn’t a need for the comma, because the essence of what one’s trying to communicate in 140 characters is conveyed with or without them.

For example, a couple of years back Gmail went down – shocking! – and the entire world began tweeting sarcastic comments about the issue. Many of the snarling remarks came from professional journalists and few of them felt the need to use a comma. They were all more interested in getting their tweet out there into cyberspace for all to read.

An editor at BuzzFeed tweeted “whoa whoa guys I can’t respond to all zero gmails at once.” Writer and biographer Rachel Syme published a joking jibe that read: “I rubbed my genie lamp and wished for one of those Freedom programs that keeps you from email but I wished TOO BIG sorry guys sorry.” And writer Jen Doll brought the entire Gmail nightmare to and end with: “I guess all those losers outside skiing or like at the movies or whatever missed out on this exciting adventure we just had.”

Did you see any commas? Did you need them to understand what you read? No!

This is exactly the point that McWhorter is trying to make when referring to the outdated nature of the comma in our super advanced technological world.

Having said all that, there are obviously a band of comma fanatics out there that continue to worry about what might happen when people start writing sentences like, “Let’s eat grandma” and not, “Let’s eat, grandma”, which are clearly two different things. But unless we all happen to be living in a version of Little Red Riding Hood, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll confuse the first sentence with the second anyway.

Comma fanatics are also worried that we won’t be able to distinguish the difference between style; that we won’t be able to produce content suitable for formal essays and articles as well as tweets and texting. The concern is that we’ll end up having to read articles in the New York Times without commas, but maybe the future’s not going to include long, formal articles in the NYT anyway. Let’s face it, tweets, texts and other digital publications have already started to turn print journalism into a thing of the past.

What do you think? Should the comma stay or should it go?

Translation events – March 2016

translation events webinars workshopsImage courtesy of bluebay at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3

Continuous Globalization from Startups to Enterprises. Lingoport, Inc. webinar

3-5

Languaging Diversity 2016. University of Macerata. Macerata, Italy.

12

Northern California Translators Association (NCTA). Workshop: Trados Studio for Intermediate UsersSan Francisco, CA USA

11-12

The Translation and Localization Conference 2016. Localize.pl, TexteM. Warsaw, Poland

CHIA 16th Annual Education Conference. California Healthcare Interpreting Association
Long Beach, California USA

Interpreter and Translators Congress. Joint initiative. Hilversum, Netherlands

13

Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events. Global Game Jam, Inc. Berkeley, California USA

14-18

11th Medical English Seminar (SAM). Société francaise des traducteurs (SFT).  Lyon, France

14-27

LocJAM. GLOC, IGDA Loc Sig. worldwide

15

TAUS Roundtable. TAUS. Vienna, Austria

17

Unicode workshop. The International Multilingual User Group (IMUG). San Jose, California USA

19

NOTIS Workshop. Mexican Civil Procedure & “Hilando muy fino con el lenguaje jurídico”. Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Seattle, WA USA

20

Memsource User Meetup. Memsource. New York, New York USA

NOTIS Workshop. Dissecting French Contracts. Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Seattle, WA

NOTIS Workshop. Dissecting French Contracts. Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS). Seattle, WA

20-23

GALA 2016. Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). New York, New York USA

think! Interpreting. Globalization and Localization Association, InterpretAmerica. New York, New York USA

28-29

International Translation Conference. Translation and Interpreting Institute. Doha, Qatar

31-April 2

ATISA VIII. American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association. Monterey, California USA

Does the English Language lack beautiful phrases to describe positive emotions?

positive emotions english translation

Tim Lomas, a psychology lecturer from the University of East London, published an article in the Journal of Positive Psychology that lists 216 of the world’s astoundingly rich phrases for feelings of beauty, positivity, and well-being that simply cannot be translated into English.

As Lomas’ article illustrates, there are literally hundreds of terms and phrases used all over the world for which the English language doesn’t have an equivalent. For example, Volta is a Greek word used to describe a relaxing stroll down the street. Jugaad is a Hindi term that describes one’s ability to just get on with things. Gumusservi is a Turkish expression to describe the beautiful shimmery shine that the moonlight creates across the ocean.

The most interesting aspect of the article is that the phrases in question all relate to positive feelings of well-being. Lomas structures his paper in such a way as to consider terms that cover spirituality, character, pro-sociality, intimacy and feelings. Might Lomas’ findings conclude that the English language lacks passion and feeling? We hope not!

Whatever the outcome, if you have a true love for language, you’ll find his article quite fascinating. We’ve listed 22 of the 216 phrases presented by Lomas in his paper and included his translations of each to their nearest possible English equivalent. Have fun!…

  • Ah-un (Japanese): Unspoken communication between close friends
  • Að jenna (Icelandic): The ability to persevere through hard or boring tasks
  • Cafune (Portuguese): Tenderly running fingers through a loved one’s hair
  • Fargin (Yiddish): To glow with pride at the success of others
  • Gökotta (Swedish): Waking up early to hear the first birds sing
  • Gula (Spanish): The desire to eat simply for the taste
  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit): The anticipation felt when waiting for someone
  • Kreng-jai (Thai): The wish to not trouble someone by burdening them
  • Mbuki-mvuki (Bantu): To shed clothes to dance uninhibited
  • Querencia (Spanish): A secure place from which one draws strength
  • Santosha (Sanskrit): Contentment arising from personal interaction
  • Sarang (Korean): The wish to be with someone until death
  • Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling you get when you’re missing, longing or yearning for something that happened in the past (or for someone who is no longer around).
  • Schnapsidee (German): An ingenious plan hatched while drunk
  • Seijaku (Japanese): Serenity in the midst of chaos
  • Sobremesa (Spanish): When the food is gone but the conversation is still flowing
  • Tarab (Arabic): Musically-induced ecstasy or enchantment
  • Toska (Russian): A wistful longing for one’s homeland
  • Uitwaain (Dutch): Walking in the wind for fun
  • Waldeinsamskeit (German): A mysterious feeling of solitude in the woods
  • Yuan fen (Chinese): A binding force impelling a destined relationship
  • Yutta-hey (Cherokee): Leaving life at its zenith; departing in glory.

 

Have you got a phrase to add to Lomas’ list of “untranslatable” positive feelings? We’d love for you to share them!