The Global Digital Marketing team developed the following guide to support TNC authors, publishers, translators, and designers working with documents, articles, and other communications in Spanish.
In compiling our recommendations and guidelines, we considered the most widely accepted rules for writing in Spanish, as well as our teams' and audiences' needs, and best practices for digital publishing.
This guide will continue to be updated as new recommendations are received and developed. If you have any questions or recommendations, please contact Marcos Lopez, Bilingual Digital Editorial Manager.
Below you will find:
- General recommendations for writing and translation into Spanish
- Recommendations for digital publishing
- Recommendations for designing documents with Spanish text
- Link to the Glossary of Frequently Translated Terms for TNC
- Links to more resources
General Recommendations for Writing and Translating to Spanish
We recommend keeping proper names in their original language and not translating them. For example: The Nature Conservancy; Puerto Rico; San Diego. These should never be translated.
However, if an official or approved translation for the proper name is found, it may be used. For example: Organización Mundial de la Salud (WHO), Cruz Roja Americana (American Red Cross). To confirm if the organization translates its name, we recommend visiting the organization's website.
Formal or Informal Pronouns
We recommend using the informal pronoun "tú" in most cases. For example, "tú" would be used in articles, calls to action, emails, etc. The more formal version, "usted," can be useful for direct and individualized communications: e-mails addressed to opinion leaders, influencers, etc.
Numbers of five digits or more are separated by a space. For example: 40 000. Whole numbers of four digits or fewer are not separated. For example: In 2021, we received 1000 donations. Reference
We use a comma to divide decimals. For example: 0,5. Both commas and periods are accepted, but we recommend using the comma because it is the most used symbol in Spanish-speaking countries. Reference
The percent symbol is separated by a space. For example: 1,5 %. Reference
Use percentages for figures greater than ten. Examples: three percent; 85 %.
After using the colon punctuation symbol ":", the next word is written in lowercase letters. For example: "Scientists identified two ecosystems of great importance: coral reefs and the estuary." There are some exceptions, including if the next word is a proper noun or begins a complete sentence as part of a quotation. Reference
When writing compound numerals: mix text and figures only according to the RAE recommendation. Reference
Only the first letter of the title is capitalized. For example: Will nature be the protagonist of 2021?; Protecting the "jewel" of Central America. Reference
Professional Titles, Offices and Positions
These are written in lower case. For example: Jennifer Morris is the chief executive officer at The Nature Conservancy. Reference
We use the metric system, which is used in most Spanish-speaking countries. If the content will be directed to a country or audience that requires using the American system, both can be included using a parenthesis. For example: 25 mph (40 km/h).
Speed: kilometers per hour (km/h). The American system unit can be added in parentheses: miles per hour (mph).
Area: hectares (ha). You can add in parentheses the American system unit: acres.
Spanish for Latin America or Spanish for Spain
We use Latin American Spanish for our global channels.
Also, because Spanish vocabulary and the meaning of words vary so much across different countries in the region, we recommend that the person that translates or proofreads translations takes into consideration that some words may or may not be the right choice for a global channel. For example: the word ahorita means “now” in some countries and “later” in others.
Recommendations for Digital Publishing
Accents and URLs
Omit accents when writing URL addresses and names of documents and files. For everything else, including headlines, photo captions and page titles, use accents as needed.
URLs should also be written in lower case, like this: nature.org/photocontest
Photo Captions and Alt Texts
All image captions and video captions must be translated to Spanish. There are two simple ways to write or translate the caption of an image.
- To add a translated caption to an image, we recommend that, when adding the image to the system the user go to the "Properties" of the image and select the "Translations" tab. Then, select the "Spanish" language and add the caption title and caption description text. Finally, press "Quick Publish" to publish the caption and "Save and Close." This way, all the Spanish pages that use this image will automatically display the Spanish caption after the page is published in the Spanish language site. You can check if this worked correctly by going to "View as Published."
- Another way to add a Spanish-language caption is directly on the article page. When you open the component where the image is located, you must select "Override" to write a title and a caption in Spanish.
- All images must also include Alt Text in Spanish. For a guide on how to draft Alt Texts, please visit this link.
Links and Hyperlinks
When the link leads to a site in English, we add the following phrase in parentheses: (enlace en inglés). For example: Se acercan las cigarras (enlace en inglés).
When the link directs users to an external site, the hyperlink should go to a "new tab" instead of "target." If the link goes to an internal page on nature.org, it can direct users to "target."
Other Key Points
Spanish-language URLs: URLs must be in Spanish for articles and pages in Spanish. To request a URL change or redirection, you can go to Digital Requests.
Publication Date: After translating a press release or article, the publication date on the translated page must match the date on the original page.
Language Selector: After publishing the translated article, you must add the language selector on the original page and on the translated page. In most cases, a TNC publisher will be able to assist you by enabling the language selector. This can be requested by accessing Digital Requests.
Character Limits: In AEM, many components have character limits, forcing Spanish text to be cut shorter. When pasting translated text into components, or using a tool that does it automatically, we recommend checking that the text has not been cut off by the character limits, or editing accordingly.
Spanish-language Texts May Be Longer
When translating texts from English to Spanish, we recommend estimating that the Spanish text will take up to 20% more characters than the original English-language text. For example: We translate all articles. (25 characters) Traducimos todos los artículos. (30 characters)
Translating Designed Documents
If a document will be written and designed in English and then translated into Spanish, we recommend that this be communicated to the designer at the beginning of the design process. This way, the designer will be able to reserve "blank" space on the page for when the Spanish text is received and will be able to accommodate it, even if the text ends up being up to 20% longer.
Recommendations for Audiovisual Materials (Video)
Translated Voice Overs
When producing regional or global outreach videos with Spanish-language narration, we recommend hiring or relying on a person with a neutral accent for Latin America. This type of narration helps the audio be better received and understood by audiences in multiple Spanish-speaking countries.
Links and References:
DeepL.com: online translator
Fundeu RAE: frequently asked questions
Integrated Taxonomic Information Service: Here you can enter the scientific or common name of a species and find the common name in multiple languages. For example: Thunnus obesus / bigeye tuna (English) / atún ojo grande (español) / thon obèse (français)
Linguee.es: online translator
RAE.es: Spanish dictionary