Many people are not aware of the distinction between Spanish as spoken and written in Spain as compared to their Latin American counterparts. Whether you have a need for English to Spanish document translation or spoken interpretation, the differences between European Spanish and Spanish for Latin America are not something that should be overlooked!
What Are the Correct Terms for the Different Forms of Spanish?
Spanish as spoken in Latin America is known simply as Latin American Spanish — easy enough, right? A term that many people are less familiar with, however, is Castilian which refers to the Castile province in Central Spain. Castilian is the formal term for Spanish as spoken in Spain. The equivalent Spanish term Castellano translates literally to “Spanish language”.
So What’s the Difference?
The differences between Latin American Spanish and Castilian are numerous and range from nuanced to quite distinctive. Perhaps the most distinct difference is the presence of the “vosotros” form in European (Castilian) Spanish. Spaniards (those who are native to Spain) use the word “vosotros” (you, plural) when addressing a group of people. On the other hand, Latin Americans use the term “ustedes”.
When it comes to the comprehension of a translated document or spoken interpretation by your target audience, there are some distinct differences in vocabulary that are quite relevant. While a Spanish speaker from Spain might refer to a cellphone as a móvil, the same device is more commonly known as a celular among Latin American Spanish speakers. Similarly, while a car is known as an automovil in Spain, the same vehicle is more commonly referred to as coche or carro in Latin America.
There are also various differences in pronunciation depending on the origin of the Spanish speaker. Spanish speakers from the country of Spain tend to pronounce the letter ‘z’, when it comes before any vowel, with a ‘th’ sound. In Latin American Spanish, by comparison, ‘z’ is almost always pronounced as an ‘s’.
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