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Spanish language changes made by the Real Academia (RAE) will cost publishers a lot of money

5/16/2011 by Susana Schultz

At the end of December, 2010, the Real Academia Española announced major changes to the Spanish language.

Very few of the changes were made public and the only way to know the complete scope of the changes will be to buy the new grammar books and study them to understand what changed. They did tell us that the new changes are mandatory and go in effect immediately. The RAE also indicated that continuing to use the old orthography will constitute an egregious, orthographical error.

This will be a logistic nightmare for publishers, not to mention the financial impact, because any book that was published prior to these changes will have to be corrected when it is reprinted. This will entail having editors cold read the books and make and changes necessary to comply with the new rules.

For us in the translation business, it is a time issue because we cannot find a nice place where all these changes are listed and explained. RAE expects us to buy and read the new grammar books and digest all the information, which at times might include comparing it to the previous grammar books to really see what changed. It is very time consuming and time is money.

We wish that RAE would list all the changes online and charge us for it. They could create an pay area on their website that we can join. We don’t have a problem paying for the information, what we object to is the time it would take us to find it all and interpret it correctly.

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