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Hola or Aló? Spanish Variations Around the World

Scene: a woman from Tenerife (Spain's Canary Islands) travels to Chile, she is excited to see the city, but no one can tell her how to find la guagua (bus) and even suggest she calls the police!  It takes her a while to figure out that in Chile, a guagua is a child, people think she has lost her child and wondering why she isn't more stressed....when in fact, she just wants to catch the bus into town. One language, but with many variants! 

The Rennert Translation Group, with the help of its Spanish translators from all over the globe, has compiled this chart in order to provide real examples of why LOCALIZATION is necessary when you are targeting specific countries and regions: 

Apricot  Most: albaricoque 
Argentina, Chile, Uruguay: damasco 
Mexico: chabacano 
Spain: saying that someone is "chabacano" means he is vulgar
Baby Most: bebé 
Argentina, Uruguay: beba (girl), bebe (boy) 
Chile: guagua
Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Canary Islands (Spain): a "guagua" is a bus
Bug Most: bicho
Mexico: insecto
Puerto Rico: "bicho" has a sexual meaning (it's a key part of the male anatomy). A bug killer was once translated as "mata bichos" and, as you can imagine, this sounded very funny in Puerto Rico
Cake Most: pastel 
Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela: torta 
Bolivia, Costa Rica: queque 
Colombia: ponqué, torta 
Cuba: cake 
Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico: bizcocho 
Panama: cake, dulce 
Peru: queque, torta 
Spain: tarta
Mexico: "Torta" means "sandwich" (torta de jamón)
Car Hood Mexico: cofre
Argentina, Spain: capó
Car Trunk Most: maletero, baúl
Department Store Most: grandes almacenes 
Cuba: tienda 
Colombia: almacén grande 
Costa Rica: tienda de departamentos 
Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Venezuela: tienda por departamentos 
Mexico: tienda departamental 
Panama: Almacén

Most: ascensor
Mexico: elevador

Eyeglasses  Most: anteojos 
Colombia: gafas, lentes 
Cuba, Puerto Rico: espejuelos 
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, México, Venezuela: lentes 
Spain: gafas 
Mexico and Spain: "Anteojos" is an old fashioned word
Fender  Most: ala 
Argentina: paragolpes 
Colombia: guardabarro, guardafango 
Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela: guardafango 
Mexico: defensa 
Puerto Rico: fender 
Spain: guardabarro, parachoques 
Good Evening  Most: buenas tardes 
Colombia, Ecuador: buenas noches 
Other countries: "buenas tardes" means "good afternoon" and "buenas noches" means "good night" 
Grocery Store  Colombia: mercado 
Costa Rica: compras 
Cuba: bodega 
Dominican Republic: víveres 
El Salvador: pulpería 
Guatemala: tienda 
Mexico: super, tienda de abarrotes 
Panama: abarrotería 
Puerto Rico: colmado 
Spain: supermercado 
Uruguay: almacén 
Venezuela: abastos 
Hello? (answering telephone)  Most: ¿Dígame? 
Argentina, Bolivia: ¿Hola? 
Cuba: ¿Oigo? 
Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Venezuela: ¿Aló? 
Mexico: ¿Bueno? 
Panama, Puerto Rico: ¿Haló? 
Uruguay: ¿Aló? ¿Hola? 
Hot Pepper  Most: chile 
Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru: ají 
Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Puerto Rico: ají picante 
Costa Rica: chile picante 
Ecuador: pimiento picante 
Spain: guindilla 
Jacket  Most: chaqueta 
Argentina: campera 
Dominican Republic, Panama: saco 
Mexico: chamarra 
Peru: casca 
Puerto Rico: blazer (women), gabán (men) 
In Spain: a "saco" is a large bag, for example, a large bag of potatoes
In Mexico: "
saco" is used for suits
Knob (of drawer)  Most: perilla
Spain: pomo
In Spain: "perilla" is a goatee
Lawn  Most: césped 
Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru: pasto 
Colombia: hierba, manga, pasto, prado 
Cuba, Dominican Republic: yerba 
Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela: grama 
Puerto Rico: grama, pasto 
In Spain: "pasto" is grass for animals (for grazing) and "grama" is a type of grass for the lawn
Muffin  Most: panecillo 
Argentina, Colombia: muffin 
Bolivia: pancito 
Guatemala: mollete 
Mexico: muffin, panqué, pastelito 
Peru: quequito Spain: madalena 
In some countries: "panecillo" is a dinner roll and "panqué" is a pancake
Popcorn  Cuba: rositas de maíz 
Argentina: pochoclo 
Venezuela: cotufa 
Spain: palomitas, palomitas de maíz 
Recreational Vehicle  Most: vehículo de recreo 
Bolivia: vagoneta 
Chile: casa rodante 
Mexico: camper 
Puerto Rico: RV 
Spain: caravana 
Venezuela: vehículo recreacional 
Red Snapper  Mexico: huachinango 
Spain: pargo 

Most: acera
Mexico: banqueta, acera 

In Spain: "banqueta" is a bench

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