When choosing an interpreter from your language to Spanish or vice versa, be sure to match the dialect they speak with the country you are most interested in. There are 21 countries in the world where Spanish is the official language, with more than 200 million people speaking it. But the Spanish spoken in Argentina is not the same as that spoken in Mexico. Each country has its own history and language influence from native peoples and immigrants.
The United States – This is especially true in the United States, where three population centers host millions of native Spanish speakers from different origins:
- Los Angeles has three million Spanish speakers (almost 50 percent of its population) that come mainly from Mexico and Central American countries. Many are migrant workers, traveling back and forth between their homelands and the United States for work – agricultural workers speaking very little English.
- New York has more than two million speakers (27 percent) coming mainly from the Caribbean islands and countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea, including the largest Puerto Rican community outside of Puerto Rico. These communities are more settled than in Los Angeles and of a higher economic level.
- Miami has one million speakers (70 percent), coming originally from Cuba, but now from Puerto Rico and other countries in Latin America. They are well settled and established in trade, shipping goods back and forth to their countries of origin.
Spain & Latin America – Spanish spoken in Spain (Castilian) is infused with Old European culture and is very different from that spoken in Latin America (Castellano). In Latin America there are five major regions with distinctive Spanish dialects: Mexico and adjacent areas, the Caribbean region, the Andes region, Chile, and Rio de la Plata.
Each region’s Spanish has adopted words from one or more of the native languages in its area – Nahuatl, Quechua, Guaraní, Aymara, and Mapudungun are the major ones. Indigenous cultural influences reciprocally affect the nuances of Spanish words as well. In Mexico, alone, there are over 62 indigenous languages spoken, resulting in a Spanish language infused and nuanced with local indigenous words and practices not spoken elsewhere (cacao, chile, chocolate, tequila).
If you are needing a Spanish language expert and the resource you talk to does not ask what kind of dialect you are looking for, be sure to bring it up. The dialect needs to match your purpose for a really skilled translation. Be sure to let Dialog One help.