Spanish is spoken by more people as a first language than any other. It may not be as internationally recognized as English or French, but certainly in Central and South America as well as several Caribbean islands it is the most important language indeed.
With the exception of Brazil, Belize, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, Spanish is spoken from the Rio Grande in the North to the tip of South America as well as in the island nations of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Of course it is spoken by tens of millions of Europeans in Spain and the offshore islands of the Canaries.
Spanish speakers in the United States
In the United States, because of the huge numbers of Latin Americans who have migrated in the last two or more decades, Spanish has become easily the most important language used apart from English. There are now parts of the U.S. where only Spanish is spoken and understood. This emphasizes the need to translate documents from English to Spanish on a daily basis.
For those who are native Spanish speakers, doing anything official can be hard work. Until recently, all forms that needed to be filled in for banks, government departments, medical records and things like warranty registrations would have been only in English. Many still are, but there has been a move to getting many of these forms translated into Spanish simply because of the growth in the Spanish speaking American community.
Marketing translation is important too for Spanish speaking consumers
The need to translate documents from English to Spanish is not restricted to forms and information sheets for government agencies and departments. Businesses have recognized that Spanish speaking Americans and new migrants might prefer to use Spanish to search online for goods and services to buy. As so many businesses these days have become reliant on the internet as a means of advertising their presence, or even doing business itself, it is important to include Spanish versions of their web pages.
Latin American Spanish may follow standard Spanish (i.e. Castilian Spanish from European Spain) grammar and syntax, but there are many dialects used and anyone who makes a living from being able to translate documents from English to Spanish must be aware of these nuances in the language. If the documents are for official purposes, then standard Spanish will be used in the translations, but for marketing purposes, localization can be very effective.
Another reason for translating from English to Spanish is for medical instructions and documents. Drugs and other medications normally come with precise instructions for use. Take too few and the drug may not do what it is supposed to do. Take too much and the consequences may be worse than the affliction that the drugs are supposed to treat.
Appliances and tools also come with instructions. Those that are designed for the U.S. market rely on someone being given the task to translate documents from English to Spanish so that Spanish speaking Americans can use the objects they buy in safety.
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