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Focus On Spanish Language And Culture

30th September 2019

This near-neighbour has plenty to offer as a partner and a friend. You just have to reach out and communicate with them in the right way.

Speaking to the World

Spanish is the official language of over 20 different countries. Colonialism and exploration made it a truly global language that’s now spoken by 572 million people. Castilian Spanish is spoken in Spain, and not surprisingly there are many variations. Large numbers of Spanish emigrants to Latin America were from the south of the country, and centuries later this is still reflected in accent and vocabulary

In the mood?

Mood affects grammar in Spanish. The subjunctive mood is used to refer to doubts, desires, conjectures, wishes and possibilities. The indicative mood is used to refer to facts and other statements that are believed to be true and reliable. The imperative mood is used to give commands. Mastery of these elements is crucial to fluent, effective communication.

Trading Places

Spain is the UK’s seventh largest export market and the UK is Spain’s fifth largest. British companies have a history of manufacturing food and beverages, chemicals and automotive components in Spain, and have recently diversified into service industries, with estate agency, law, project management and consultancy all growth areas.

Approximately 700 UK companies operate in Spain, notably including Barclays, BP, Diageo, Easyjet, British Airways, Vodafone, AB Foods, BT, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline, British Imperial Tobacco and the BBC. When a Spanish citizen lights a cigarette, buys private medical insurance or uses their mobile phone there’s a good chance that they’ll be fuelling the profits of a British company. Spanish law permits foreign investment of up to 100% equity and is liberal in the approach to capital movement.

Detail, detail, detail

Translation errors have sunk many advertising campaigns in Spanish speaking countries. The Parker Pens slogan “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” used the Spanish verb embarazar, which actually translates as to get pregnant.

The Dairy Association made another cringeworthy mistake when its successful anglophone Got Milk? campaign curdled in Spain, with the tagline translated as the wildly inappropriate Are you Lactating?

And General Motors took a while to understand why their Chevy Nova campaign was such a flop in Spanish. No va unfortunately translates as it won’t go. The model was eventually renamed and relaunched at monumental cost.

This near-neighbour has plenty to offer as a partner and a friend. You just have to reach out and communicate with them in the right way.


Conversis: helping you speak to the world

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