E-Marketing in Minneapolis David Vinge, eMarketing Dashboard: Universal or Neutral Spanish Verses Regional Spanish

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Universal or Neutral Spanish Verses Regional Spanish

Some companies, like Microsoft, preface Spanish manuals with a note that explains to the user that the document was written in universal Spanish that all of their customers could understand. Read Microsoft's standard disclaimer (in Spanish).

Carefully choosing Spanish words so that the resulting text is “Neutral” or “Universal” is acceptable (i.e. not identifiable as written for another regional market) throughout the Spanish-speaking world. It is also a significant technique for reducing localization costs by eliminating the need to produce additional versions for each Spanish-speaking country.

Not everybody will be convinced that a universal Spanish is appropriate. However, we need to adapt to business realities. It is no longer feasible - or necessary - to write specifically in the Spanish of your Spanish target audience.

Proponents of country-specific Spanish Web sites often cite differing conventions for depicting times, numbers, and the like. For example, while a Mexican might write a check for $3,290.67, a Spaniard would write the same amount as $3.290,67. Insisting on an entire different Web site to account for differences like this example is rather like missing the forest for the trees. While a notation might be unconventional, it surely would not result in any confusion.

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