Automotive Translations – Latin American Spanish equals LAS?

The problem of finding the perfect Latin American Spanish variant is not easy to solve. We may write an entire encyclopedia about the different uses of automotive vocabulary in each Latin American country.

The wide range of linguistic flavors in Latin American Spanish may be a difficult thing for a linguist who is trying to translate literature or materials meant for specific region. In Business and IT engineering the situation may be a little bit different, in this case it is recommended to introduce a more neutral, so-called “international” style to keep the costs as low as possible.

The problem is that each Latin American country is a potential market, where users would like to see their daily vocabulary present in books and manuals. They want those publications to keep a local style and reflect their own cultural values which are also related to the way these communities use the language, in this case their Latin American Spanish variant. In the past, not a very long time ago, most localization work for Latin America was mainly based in Mexico.

Translation of bus in Latin America

Lexical variations of the translation of the word “bus” in Latin America

If for example we are talking about a car manufacturing company that usually has its subsidiaries present in different Latin American countries, it would be a good idea to develop for each of these countries different glossaries that would focus on the specific terminology used by mechanics, technicians and drivers. Then, this valuable information can be organized and grouped using Translation Memories. In this way, the production of documentation would be friendlier to the user and many of the users would be able to understand their car manuals or instructions without the need for a dictionary, because the terms used are common and easily understood in their region.

In order to solve this issue it would be recommendable for the automotive industry to target a specific audience and create specific material for each Latin American country. Another optionthat we do not recommend for automotive would be to create a general glossary usually called Spanish LAS to englobe the most common terminology.

At Jensen Localization we take into account these things very seriously, and we will always let you know which translation you should use for each Spanish variety, and we will provide you with the right translator to obtain the best results and the tools to store these results. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.


Happy Jubilee, Hendrika!

We have reached the mid-year at Jensen Localization, and a very special event attracts attention among birthdays, contract renewals and baby announcements. Hendrika, one of our colleagues in our Dutch branch celebrated her 12.5 anniversary at Jensen Localization this month!

Hendrika was one of the first persons to be hired at Jensen Localization Benelux 12.5  years ago. By that time, we had a small office in De Kleine Raamstraat in the city centre of Groningen but nothing compared to the modern offices we currently have in Zernike Science Park. Hendrika was initially hired as a project manager and soon moved on to become the Assistant General Manager. During all this time she has performed all her tasks with exceptional professionalism. She has grown professionally with us, and our company has grown thanks to her job and the team she managed to build and train.

In August 2015 she decided to focus on linguistic tasks instead and she is now part of our in-house team of Dutch translators.

We are very happy to have Hendrika with us, and we want to congratulate her on her jubilee. If you would like to learn more about her, you can read a past interview.

Hendrika celebrating her Jubilee at translation company Jensen Localization

Hendrika is celebrating her Jubilee at Jensen Localization this year. Congratulations!

Translation and Literature

Literary translation is not one of our fields, but, being April the month when World Book Day is celebrated and in the year of the 400th anniversary of Cervantes and Shakespeare deaths (even if they did not exactly die on the same day); we had no excuse not to talk about it.

UNESCO has been compiling data about languages and books on its Index Translationum. Here you can get statistics about the most translated writers, source and target languages, countries or publishers that publish translated books in a given country of your choice.

Today we want to share with you some interesting data from this Index.

Top 10 most translated writers:

  1. Christie Agatha
  2. Verne Jules
  3. Shakespeare William
  4. Blyton Enid
  5. Cartland Barbara
  6. Steel Danielle
  7. Lenin Vladimir Il’ič
  8. Andersen Hans Christian
  9. King Stephen
  10. Grimm Jacob

Surprised for not finding Cervantes among the top 10? Guess what; he is not even on the top 50. It is not strange, as this list evolves with society and modern writers, who have probably published more books, get better rankings. This is the case of bestsellers Danielle Steel and Stephen King. The most famous (and most translated) book by Cervantes is Don Quixote, so probably this is the only book that has been considered for the ranking. Why Shakespeare does appear in the top 10? Probably because he had more books than the Spanish writer and by the second half of the 17th century the Spanish empire was declining, which fostered the evolution of the English empire. Therefore, English culture was more widely spread by then.

Top 10 source languages:

  1. English
  2. French
  3. German
  4. Russian
  5. Italian
  6. Spanish
  7. Swedish
  8. Japanese
  9. Danish
  10. Latin

As you can see, English is first in the ranking. Most of the most translated authors were English speakers, so the relationship between writers and languages is evident.

Top 10 target languages:

  1. German
  2. French
  3. Spanish
  4. English
  5. Japanese
  6. Dutch
  7. Russian
  8. Portuguese
  9. Poland
  10. Sweden

Surprised to find Polish and Swedish on this ranking? As experts in translation from and into Nordic languages, we have a hypothesis: the Nobel Prize in Literature. We think that the winner will have its book translated into Swedish so readers in the country awarding the price will have access to such work.

Top 10 Spanish writers:

  1. García Márquez Gabriel
  2. Allende Isabel
  3. Vargas Llosa Mario
  4. Cervantes Saavedra Miguel de
  5. Borges Jorge Luis
  6. Parramón Vilasaló José María
  7. García Lorca Federico
  8. Neruda Pablo
  9. Cortázar Julio
  10. Vázquez Montalbán Manuel


Hurrah! We can finally find Cervantes in a ranking, but not in the first position. Not having Spain’s most universal writer in the first positions is quite reasonable. 400 years ago there were many fewer readers (not to mention translators). Therefore, if we compare him with authors from the 20th century, when reading and translation are more frequent activities, any writer of previous centuries, no matter how important he/she is, will always have a low ranking. Also, remember that UNESCO has been compiling data “only” since 1979, so all previous translations before that year are not included; probably many translations from Cervantes works were done before that year.

As a company also offering translation from and into Spanish and with one office in Spain, we wanted to check the top 10 countries with translation from Spanish:

  1. Spain
  2. France
  3. Germany
  4. United States
  5. Brazil
  6. Portugal
  7. Italy
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Poland
  10. The Netherlands

Lastly, as English is the most translated language, we wanted to know which the top 10 countries with most translated English books are:

  1. Germany
  2. Spain
  3. France
  4. Japan
  5. The Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Poland
  8. Denmark
  9. China
  10. Russian Federation

What can we learn from all these data? Literature and translation help us to discover and unify countries, cultures, traditions and to leave thousands of adventures. No matter if we are in the literary translation field or not, at Jensen Localization we will always support the combination of both worlds. Long life translation!

Translation and Business between Danish and Spanish companies

The Costa del Sol is an appealing place for Scandinavian people and businesses, as we already explained in our article Translation and Business Opportunities between Norway and Spain.

Today we are exploring the synergies between Denmark and Spain, and in more detail, the Malaga region, as it is where our Spanish branch is located.

We recently attended a meeting with the Danish ambassador of Spain and Andorra, John Nielsen, held at the Malaga Chamber of Commerce. Mr Nielsen explained about the close and long business relationships between Denmark and Spain.

Spanish flagAs you can imagine, Madrid and Barcelona are the most popular cities with Danish companies, as these are the places where they have traditionally opened their businesses. However, there is an increasing interest in the Costa del Sol. As a matter of fact, the Malaga region is the place, after Sweden, with more Danish residents, accounting for several thousands. Taking into account that Denmark is a small country with around 5.7M inhabitants (less than Andalusia), this is a very interesting data.

The Costa del Sol is also the favourite tourist destination for Danish people.

The potential of Malaga as a smart city is also interesting for many Danish companies, the ambassador explained at the event.

One of the most popular Danish brands in Malaga is BestSeller, the fashion group, operating in Torremolinos since 1997. Tiger, the Danish chain of stores, is successfully expanding in Malaga and neighbour cities.

But there are other smaller companies, owned by Danish residents that also contribute to the regions’ economy. And this is where many Spanish companies can play an important role.

Danish flagThese companies represent a wide range of industries: law firms, real estate companies, insurance brokers or dental clinics, to name a few. These companies are mainly targeted towards Danish residents, but they will need suppliers, and they will of course need more clients (companies always need more clients, don’t they?).

Not everybody is able to learn a new language well enough to make business. And communication is the key to success, no matter what your business is about. By providing these companies with the information they need about your products and services, they will feel much more comfortable making business with you.

At Jensen Localization we are experts in the Spanish, Dutch and Nordic languages. We can help you to bridge the gap between you and your potential Danish clients by translating your website and marketing collaterals, such as brochures or company presentations into Danish or any other language you may need.

For Danish residents, we can provide sworn translation services needed to open a business in Spain or having a permanent residence in this country. If you are a Danish company and would like to make business with Spanish clients and suppliers, do not hesitate to contact us for translation into Spanish.

Brands, language and culture

You have probably read a lot about blunders from big brands entering new markets, such as Coca-Cola in China or Ikea’s catalogue in Thailand.

This is a common error among companies due to lack of knowledge of the language and culture of their target markets. Therefore, the solution is simple: hire native translators. Not only will they advise you on the language but, as potential users of your products or services, will be able to let you know how they feel when they read that brand name.

However, not only does this happen in translation, but also in the company’s native language. Cultural connotation, spelling mistakes that change the meaning of a word or wordplays that have a different meaning to the creator and the reader can have an effect over your brand.

At Jensen Localization we asked our staff to pick up some examples about curious brand names, either because they have a different connotation in another language or because they can cause confusion. We also asked them to send us examples of good name choices. See below some of their findings:

In the Italian city of Pordenone, our colleague Javier used to live just above this bakery. The brand, very popular in Italy, would be very popular in Spain, but probably for other reasons, and not for the quality of their baguettes. Or maybe yes? Follador in Spanish means, to say it politely, a man being very sexually active :).


In Turkey, Helia came across this brand name in a restaurant. Aciktim means ‘I am hungry’ in Turkish, so it is indeed a very creative brand name that we think is worth mentioning.


In Spain, I myself found a funny brand name. Supercaro literally means ‘super expensive’. Isn’t it paradoxical that a low cost super market has a name meaning that it is super expensive? The most reasonable explanation for this name is that the owner of the supermarket is called Carolina (Caroline). Carol or Caro, as in this example, is a very commonly used abbreviation for this name in Spanish. Therefore, the intention of this brand name is to mean ‘Carol’s supermarket’, instead of ‘a very expensive supermarket’. This is a creative brand name full of meaning to the owner of this supermarket, but it may cause confusion among people not used to this name.

Language and culture go hand in hand in all fields, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about marketing or technical texts. Something that is completely neutral in our culture can have enormous effects in other languages and cultures. Sometimes these effects are funny and incidental, but in other cases they can affect your company branding and even offend your target market, leading to a complete failure on your international strategy.

At Jensen Localization we take into account these things very seriously, and we will always let you know if your source text can have any cultural connotation that needs to be addressed during translation. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.