11 March 2016
The Importance of translating into Spanish: Countries where Spanish is spoken and you didn’t even know it
The second most spoken language in the world
After reading this article, not only will you learn some new facts, but you will also understand the importance of localization and translation into Spanish.
The second most spoken language in the world
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. According to El español, 6.7% of the planet's total population speaks Spanish. Everybody knows that Spanish is the main language in Colombia or Argentina, but did you know that Spanish is also one of the most important languages in the following countries?
Spanish is the official first language of this multiple-island country, due to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Castilian grew in importance thanks to its impact in the official education system, which soon spread through the majority of the population because of the revolutionary movements influenced by the Spanish overseas. It was only in 1973, when the National Institute of Language was established, that the Philippine language started to consolidate itself among the population as the official language and began to become part of the national identity.
This country, among other small countries on the African continent, was previously a Portuguese colony, but was then claimed as part of Spain. In 1926, Spain ordered the insular part to join the mainland, to form Spanish Guinea, with Spanish as the official language. For several years the Guinean population lived under Spanish rule, until 1968, when Guinea claimed its independence while Spain was weak because of the Civil War and UNO pressure. But even today, Spanish is the country's official language.
Aruba is a country in the Caribbean that belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Despite the fact that the official languages are Dutch and Papiamento, there is a large part of the population that speaks Spanish, because Spain previously colonized the island. The Cervantes Institute estimates that almost 14,000 people – of a total population of 110,000 – identify Spanish as their native language. The Institute also explains the existence and vast usage of Spanish on this island as a result of the close commercial relationships between Aruba and Venezuela, its closest neighbor.
Situated in Central America, the official first language of Belize is English. Nevertheless, more Spanish-speakers live here. It is estimated that 165,000 of the total population of 355,000 speak Spanish – and this fact means that Castilian is the second most spoken language in the country. The first colonizers were Spanish, after which the English and Scottish occupied the territory in 1798, and then the Spanish fleet tried to reconquer Belize, but conceded it to the British. Despite this, the influence of Spanish culture predominates even today.
Although not the most spoken language by the majority of the population, it's not strange to hear Moroccans speaking Castilian, particularly in regions that belonged to the Spanish Protectorate from 1956 to 1958. The Protectorate was established in the north and south of the country, but there is an even older cause: the Jewish colonies who were expelled from Spain lived in Morocco in 1492. Later, the north and south of Morocco was conquered by the Spanish, but in 1958 it gained independence. According to the Cervantes Institute, about 7,000 people speak Spanish as a native language.
The Spanish came not only to Morocco, but also to Algeria in 1492. Orán is one of the cities with a high concentration of Spanish-speakers, and Spanish is studied there. Today there are more than 200,000 people who speak Spanish as their second native language, having studied it at school.
Israel is another country where the Spanish language is spoken by a significant number of citizens. The evolution of Spanish culture in this country has the same roots as Algeria and Morocco. Many Jewish people came to Israel from Spain.
One third of this small population speaks Spanish as their native language, despite the fact that the official language is Catalonian. This is because the majority of immigrants who came to Andorra in the 20th century were from Spain. Spanish culture is very important to Andorra and lots of Andorrans study Spanish as their second language, because Spanish tourism provides a great source of income for the locals.
Spanish – the universal language
These are some of the countries where Spanish plays a crucial role. There are over 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide, and the Cervantes Institute estimates that in 2030, the language will be spoken by 7.5% of the world's total population. In addition, around 21 million people study Spanish.