Spanish Translation Dialects

The Spanish language has a wide variety of dialects, and these differ mainly in certain vocabulary, use of articles and specific grammar structures. However, when it comes to written Spanish, Standard Spanish is used due to its neutrality and lack of idiomatic expressions that are present in certain dialects. When having documents translated to Spanish, most professional translation services will use Standard Spanish.

Spanish Translation Dialects – Origins

The origins of Standard Spanish hail from the Castilian dialect. This is due to a number of reasons. First is that the Castilian dialect served as the mother tongue of the Spanish military, along with the political dominance of the Spanish government during the Reconquista period. Castile also served as the main language in folk ballads and stories about Spanish heroes during the 13th century. Over the years, the Castilian dialect has been the basis of the first modern Spanish grammar publications in the country, making it the standard of communication in written and formal oral communication.


Spanish dialects have been grouped to five separate variants based on their pronunciation. These are:

  • Caribbean. Caribbean Spanish is used in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and the Caribbean portions of Mexico and Nicaragua.
  • South American Pacific. This Spanish variant meanwhile is used in Peru, Guayaquil, Ecuador and Chile.
  • Central American. Central American Spanish is used in the Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
  • Argentine-Uruguayan-American. This variant is spoken in some parts of Bolivia, such as in Santa Cruz, Pando and Beni.
  • Highland American Spanish. Highland American Spanish is the variant used in the mountainous regions of Mexico, Costa Rica, Andean Colombia, Guatemala, Andean Venezuela, Quito, Bolivia and the Peruvian Sierra.

Spanish-speaking communities in the Philippines use a blend of Castilian Spanish and Mexican.

Spanish Translation Dialects – Peninsular Spanish

Peninsular Spanish is a variant of the Spanish language spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, or the Kingdom of Spain. It has become distinct for its preservation of a distinction between phonemes involving the letters “s” and “z”. Phonemic distinctions in Peninsular Spanish are absent in American Spanish, although these are not highlighted when it comes to written documents.

Among the variants of Peninsular Spanish are Andalusian Spanish, Aragnonese Spanish, Canarian Spanish, Castilian Spanish, Castrapo, Murcian Spanish and Riojan Spanish.

Morphological Distinction

Spanish Translation Dialects – One obvious difference when it comes to written Spanish dialects is the use of the pronoun “vosotros,” which is only present in Peninsular Spanish. Vosotros, and its corresponding second person plural familiar verb forms are only used in Peninsular Spanish; in contrast, these verb forms are merged in “ustedes,” in American and African Spanish.

Spanish Translations

When it comes to translating written documents in Spanish, professional translation services use Standard Spanish, which is based on the Castilian dialect. While it is uses the “vosotros” pronoun, it does not affect other dialect distinctions in American Spanish. It also uses the same grammar and sentence structure as that of other dialects, making it understandable to all Spanish-speaking populations.

Oral translations meanwhile usually ask for a specific dialect to be used, so that the works could be understood by the targeted audiences.