Do Spanish Interpreter Classes Cover Dialects?

Do Spanish Interpreter Classes Cover Dialects?


Spanish Interpreter ClassesWe have spoken many times on the general need for interpreters to be aware of differences between dialects of their target languages; however, it goes beyond simply avoiding confusion. In some cases, there are different words between dialects to describe symptoms or medical terms – and misinterpreting these without realizing can result in dangerous consequences for patients.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, and therefore, it is important for Spanish medical interpreters to be aware of the varying words used to describe the same symptoms. These variances in language can result from different Spanish dialects of the U.S. and abroad. For example, it is generally recognized that there are many different dialects of Spanish spoken between U.S. states, such as:

  • Coloradan Spanish
  • New Mexican Spanish
  • Arizonan Spanish
  • Texan Spanish

Along with these dialects, there are of course the dialects of Spanish from around the world that are spoken as well, including:

  • Cuban Spanish
  • Puerto Rican Spanish
  • Mexican Spanish
  • Castilian Spanish
  • Aragonese Spanish
  • Basque Spanish
  • Catalan Spanish
  • Latin American Spanish
  • Caribbean Spanish

Although these dialects have much in common, there are key differences in how they are spoken. Just like standard Spanish medical vocabulary will be taught in Spanish interpreter classes, vocabulary used in different dialects needs to be covered as well.

Medical Terms Spanish Interpreter Classes Should Cover

Vocabulary terms, pronouns and spelling are a few of the ways the Spanish language can vary between the dialects mentioned above. Take the differences between Castilian Spanish and Catalan Spanish for common medical terms:

Spanish Dialects Table

Mistaking these words for something else, or not translating them properly, can result in an improper diagnosis or the client not understanding the situation. Another instance that can cause confusion is when a word is used in one dialect and exists in another, but means something completely different.  For example cómoda is used as a term for chest in Mexican Spanish, but means comfortable in Puerto Rican and Castilian Spanish.

Dialects Should Be a Core Part of Spanish Interpreter Classes, Not an Exception

Spanish Translator ClassesThose looking to gain Spanish interpreter certification need to make sure they will be made aware of as many variances in vocabulary and meaning as possible during their training. Spanish interpreter classes should have instructors who are familiar with medical vocabulary across common dialects of their target languages. These should be incorporated into the standard Spanish interpreter training course.

All of Language Connections' Spanish interpreter training instructors are aware of differences in Spanish dialects, and how these can affect the performance of a medical interpreter. Our training courses incorporate common vocabulary used across different Spanish dialects, as well as role playing and in person exercises to prepare students looking to become certified medical interpreters. When performing a job that could potentially impact someone’s life, you can’t afford to not be prepared – get started on your Spanish interpreter certification with one of Interpreter Train’s classes today.


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