Spanish Variants for Localization: Which One Should You Choose?

2021-08-25T20:10:50+00:00 August 25th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Did you know Spanish is the language with the second largest population of native speakers in the world? It is spoken by more than 559 million people globally, from which 460 million are native speakers. Its geographical dispersion and the different socio-cultural levels of the speakers make it a rich and versatile language with quite a few dialectal variants.

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What is a linguistic variant?

It is a form of language characterized by a series of linguistic traits used by a given community of speakers who have either social or geographical relationships with each other.

But how many variants make up the Spanish language exactly? It is a difficult question because establishing the boundaries between variants or dialects is not as easy as doing it between languages. Differences can go from intonation, pronunciation, and vocabulary to idioms and locutions. That explains why when we listen to a person we can assume where they are from.

For instance, in Latin America, we can establish large geographical areas that share similar pronunciation and linguistic features: the Andean region (southern Colombia, part of Ecuador and Peru, part of Bolivia, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina), the Caribbean region (the Antilles, Central America, Venezuela, and Colombia), the Río de la Plata Spanish (Argentina and Uruguay) and the Mexican Spanish.


However, in localization, there are three main Spanish variants:

  • International Spanish: International or neutral Spanish is an artificial language created for marketing purposes. The goal is that products reach all Spanish-speaking territories. In consequence, highly local, idiomatic, and country/region-specific vocabulary, grammar, and usage must be avoided when writing or translating into this variant. This ensures that the text cannot be linked to any specific Spanish region or country.
  • LATAM Spanish: This variant is aimed at Latin American Spanish speakers. Just like International Spanish, it avoids using local and idiomatic vocabulary or grammar and goes for more neutral options.
  • Region-specific Spanish: There are as many region-specific variants as territories where Spanish is spoken. For example, Mexican Spanish, Cuban Spanish, Chilean Spanish, Castilian Spanish, among others. In this case, the translator is free to use any country-specific linguistic feature that allows the audience to feel related to the brand or product.


Which one is better for you?

Well, that will always depend on your localization strategy. If you are willing to launch a product in a specific market, region-specific Spanish would be more accurate as it adapts to idiomatic expressions and cultural features. Remember that to reach a specific audience, you must speak their language, literally.

On the other hand, if your goal is that your product reaches a heterogeneous group of Spanish speakers, you should go for the International Spanish variant. That way, you will guarantee a wide range of Spanish speakers get your message and know your product.

Finally, if your objective is to address your product to the LATAM region, then you should choose the LATAM Spanish variant. This will guarantee your target audience receives your message in a friendly and trustworthy way, and feel close to your brand.

Localization is a key step for every business willing to develop a global strategy. It is proven that reaching wider audiences and offering them a product is easier when you speak the target’s language and know their culture and preferences, as it shows you care about their interests.

At Win & Winnow, we believe every client is different so we adapt to their needs and provide them with customized and comprehensive solutions. To achieve success, we rely on our experienced and specialized team who always carry out projects on time and effectively. If you want to learn more, contact us!

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