Spanish Style Guide

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Spanish localization style for Second Life and Xstreet SL


The purpose of this guide is to provide stylistic guidelines for in-house translators and volunteers working on the Viewer, web pages, KB articles, e-mails, blog entries, announcements and wiki pages of Second Life and XStreetSL.

By style, we refer to preferred writing techniques to be used on various content types.

By tone, we refer to the way Second Life residents should be addressed.

This Style Guide and the Glossary should be used at all times.

General Guidelines

We translate using the criteria agreed by 22 Academies of the Spanish language in the Real Academia Española:

These procedure are our basic criterion in all the translations. Below will be cases, but it is impossible to see them all. The sources quoted are always the best tool. If you are not accustomed to their use, or you don't dominate their rules, it will be good that you consult your translations with others before pueblicarlas.

  • If you are not accustomed to their use, or not mastered its rules, it will be good to consult with other before publish the translation.

  1. Please, use the translation agreed in the Glossary (actually, also can be seen in this wiki.
  2. In the translation we try to be faithful to the terms proposed by Linden Lab. Sometimes, a term does not seem to us to be the most suitable. But we think that Linden Lab must decide the most correct thing. So we look for the Spanish word most adapted for this term.
  3. Often, a single word in English can be translated into Spanish by several words. We chose the Spanish word that comes closest to the meaning of the word in English, although not its literal translation (eg, "Owner" is "Dueño", but the sense of "Ownner" makes wise choice "Propietario). We should not follow the original English syntactic structure too closely, what matters is the meaning.
  4. It is common in English to form a term by juxtaposing individual words. In Spanish is almost never correct (eg, "Group-owned" should be "Perteneciente al grupo" or similar).
  5. In Spanish, many words are masculine or feminine gender. We are conscious of the debate that exists nowadays on this matter. But it is not feasible to use constantly constructions like, for putting an example, "los y las Residentes". We use always the generic gender.
  6. Please don't translate the "Spanish sound" of the English word. There are many examples. But the most amusing (and embarrassing) is the actual translation of "Library": in Spanish sound as "Librería", but it's "Biblioteca"! ("librería" is "bookshop" or "bookshelves").
  7. Before publishing a translation, let's reread our text two or three times. It is normal that there are misprints. But many misprints are eliminated reading slow the text after translating it.
  8. This is guide based on the Spanish from Spain (Spanish-Es), or Castellano. We always will try to do a valid translation for all the Spanish-speaking countries. But already one saw in the Glossary that sometimes is not easy ("coger", "tomar", "pollera"...), and it is necessary to choose (and in this case, we choose the Spanish of Spain).

Specific Topics

Punctuation: Commas, Colons, Quotation, Admiration

The purpose of this section is to list the most important rules as well as rules that are specific to Second Life. Follow the Real Academia Española indications on punctuation and pay attention to important differences between Spanish and English punctuation (you can see this explanation.


Use commas to separate elements with a similar grammatical function.

When a coordinating conjunction - “y”, “o” “u” - joins the last two elements in a series, do not use a comma before the conjunction. Use a comma before the coordinating conjunction only if it is repeated in the sentence or if the elements do not have the same grammatical function.

Remember that the Spanish language use more commas than the English.

Example: Cuando haya entrado a Second Life, descubrirá un mundo virtual en plena efervescencia, lleno de gente, creación, arte y diseño, y oportunidades únicas.


Colons should be used before lists and explanations.

Do not use a capital letter after the colon, even after “Nota” or “Aviso”, "Atención", "Consejo" etc., except if the text is at the beginning of a paragraph.

Example: Nota: puede elegir en qué orden aparece la lista de objetos del inventario.

Quotation Marks

Please use Spanish quotation marks: "…"

Only if there is a quotation within another quotation must be used the "comillas de texto": «»

However, sometimes it will be enough "single quote": '...'

Non-breaking spaces should be used between the chevrons and the quoted text.

Punctuation marks that do not belong to the quoted text are always placed outside the quotation marks.

Example: En Second Life, puede crear y personalizar su personaje en 3D, llamado "avatar". Alguna página web lo describe así: "El 'avatar' (según la RAE, «reencarnación, transformación») es la propia persona dentro de SL".

Quotation Marks

The use of signs of admiration is much more frequent in English than in Spanish. Let's remember that in Spanish the signs of admiration are used exclusively in exclamations, and they are not used to emphasize anything.

Second Life specific punctuation rules

When referring to a Second Life page or feature, a button, or a link, do not use quotation mark as in the English. Instead, start the name of the page, link or functionality with a capital letter.

English: Go into SL and click on the "Find" button
To be avoided: Entra en SL y pulsa "Buscar".
Preferred: Entra en SL y pulsa Buscar.

(Sometimes, you can use the single quote for clarify).


Bulleted and numbering lists should follow the style of Spanish lists.

A period should be inserted at the end of each segment of the list.

The first letter of each item should start with a upper case.

Sometimes, it's possible use the suspensive points. Then, the next item should start with lower letter.

If it's possible, use parallel structure, e.g., if one segment starts with a verb, all should begin with a verb.

El historial de su cuenta muestra:
  • Todas las operaciones que ha hecho.
  • Sus pagos del IVA y…
  • …la cuota de IVA que se le aplica.
  • Otros datos de sus actividades económicas.

Acronyms and abbreviations

As general norm, let's be very restrictive in the use of the acronyms, abbreviations...


An acronym (the Spanish "sigla") is a group of initials, each representing a word.

They should be written in capital letters without periods or spaces. They haven't plural (for example, dont' use "MIs").

The acronym must correspond to the Spanish or English terms.

The acronyms should be followed by their full spelling in parentheses the first time they appear on a page or an e-mail.

A good summary of acronyms can be found in Libro de Estilo de "El País". The Real Academia Española explain their gramatical rules.


Only very common abbreviations should be used.

The Real Academia Española offers a list of usual abbreviations in Spanish besides the gramatical rules that must govern their use.

Abbreviations such as "SL" or "av", "tp" or "lm", should be avoided as they may confuse users (especially new ones!)

They should be replaced by regular expressions such as "Second Life", "avatar", "'teleporte'", "hito".


Parentheses should be used to clarify statements or provide additional information.

Use only regular parentheses () for parenthetical notes. Do not use braces [] or curly braces {}.

Angled brakets <> are used to show snippets of code within text.

Example: Second Life tiene muchos lugares donde poder adquirir lo preciso para personalizar su avatar (piel, forma, pelo...) y sus complementos (ropa, calzado, adornos, etc.).

Capital letters

The source text uses capital letters to convey important messages. But in Spanish, would be perceived as rude or as a shout, and should be avoided.

Example 1:
English: The Basic Access Account is FREE.
To be avoided: La cuenta básica es GRATIS.
Preferred: La cuenta básica es gratis.
Example 2:
English: You can see the text in Spanish and English, and the Object will appear in your Inventory when you pick Create Object.
To be avoided: Puede ver el texto en Español y en Inglés, y el Objeto aparecerá en su Inventario cuando pulse Crear un objeto.
Preferred: Puede ver el texto en español y en inglés, y el objeto aparecerá en su inventario.

In addition, in English the use of capital letters is frequent in the middle of the phrase. And sometimes, some Spanish writers use the capital letter to give importance to something: "Usted puede aportar sus ideas en nuestro Foro", "nadie debe perderse este Evento". That is incorrect. Please remember the spanish grammatical rule about the proper names and common names.

What to capitalize?

  • Proper nouns: Second Life, Linden Lab.
  • Acronyms: IM, IVA etc.
  • The first letter of Second Life Region names: Ahern
  • The first letter of each term that identifies a particular button or menu item within the Second Life client: menú Modificar, botón Construir, etc.
  • According to the opinion of many people, Resident (it isn't correct in Spanish, but in Second Life it's usual capitalize "Linden", "Volunteer", "Mentor"...).

Date, Time, Number, Currencies


In Spanish, the date format is DD de MM de YYYY and not MM DD YYYY as in English.

Example: 28 de marzo de 2009

For the abbreviated from, use (-) as separators, and don't use zeroes (0) for days and months from 1 to 9.

Example: 24-6-04

Days and months don't take an initial capital in Spanish. The abbreviations of the months and days of the week are as follows:

  • Ene. Feb. Mar. Abr. May. Jun. Jul. Ago. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dic.
  • Lun. Mar. Mié. Jue. Vie. Sáb. Dom.


Time should be expressed in Spanish format.

English examples: At 8:00 a.m., 8:20 p.m., and 12 noon
Spanish examples: A las 8.00, 8.20 de la tarde (or 20.20), y 12 de la mañana.
  • Please note that the use of "a.m." and "p.m." (or "am" and "pm") is also an acceptable format.


Follow Spanish conventions for numbers with four or more digits.

Spanish examples: 1.000, 10.000, 1.415.22, 222,67 (decimal).

Remember that in Spanish the historical year dont' use period: "Colón llegó a América en 1492".


Currency symbols should be placed after the amount and preceded by a space.

English example: USD 50
Spanish example: 50 USD

Use a period for thousand separators and a comma for decimal separators.

English example: USD 2000.50
Spanish example: 2.000,50 USD

Remeber than the translation os "Linden Dollars" is "dólares Linden" (it's incorrect "Linden Dólares" or "Dólares Linden").

Viewer, web pages, e-mails, KB...

Style and tone

The style of the viewer, web pages, and e-mails should simple, direct, and clear.

The tone should be engaging and friendly, but also formal: we are not writing in the chat, but in Second Life's "official" texts and for users of all the ages and conditions.

Both style and tone should be consistent throughout the application, and all web and KB articles, as well as e-mails.

In Second Life's daily use in Spanish language it is frequent to use "tu". But in the web, KB, email, etc., we use "usted", because it is a question of official texts of Linden Lab. We keep in mind the wide and varied group of users of Second Life.

Please don't use "telegraphic (robotic) language". In Spanish, for example, we must say "Crear un objeto", "Abrir una carpeta", "Botón derecho del ratón", or "Pulse el botón Buscar". It is not correct "Crear objeto", "Abrir carpeta", "Botón derecho", o "Pulse botón Buscar".


Use "real world" language, and not overly "techie" or "robot-like".

If the source English is too technical, unclear, or confusing, do not hesitate to simplify it.

Example 1:
English: Inventory fetch from server timed out. Retry?
Spanish (to be avoided): Superado tiempo de espera del servidor para inventario. ¿Reintentar?
Spanish (preferred): La descarga del inventario desde el servidor ha superadop el tiempo normal de espera. ¿Volver a intentarlo?


The tone should not be overly formal but not too casual or too colloquial. It should always be polite.

English: Oops!You tried to wear a [TYPE] and it did not load. Don't panic. Try again in a minute to give things a chance to settle down
Spanish (to be avoided): Buf... Usted quiere llevar un [TYPE], pero no carga. Tranqui, pruebe en un minuto a ver si la cosa se arregla sola.
Spanish (preferred): Usted está intentando llevar un [TYPE], pero hay un problema: no podemos cargarlo. No es grave: vuelva a probar de aquí un minuto, es probable que se soluciones por sí solo.

Rule 3:

The content should be accurate, precise, encouraging, and user focused.

When the source English is unclear, or "complicated", try to make your translation simpler and "accessible" to a broad audience.

We are addressing residents from all levels of experience, and not Second Life experts.

Always try to put yourself in the shoes of a new user.

English: Simulator primitive usage
Spanish (to be avoided): Uso de prims en el simulador
Spanish (preferred): Primitivas que se están usando en el territorio

User interface

When steps to follow are given, UI elements should be separated by a > symbol.

English example: Invite People to this Group using the 'Invite New Person...' button in the Members & Roles tab > Members sub-tab.
Spanish example: Invite a este grpo a otros residentes usando el botón Invitar a una nueva persona, situado en la pestaña Miembros y Funciones > Miembros.

When referring to a UI element, in Spanish only the first letter of the UI element should be capitalized

English example: Create New Notice
Spanish example: Crear una Nueva noticia

If the UI element is not translated, write it in English without italic.

About Terminology

Expired terminology

As Second Life has matured, Linden-favored terms have changed as well. When translating, please sure to be consistant in the terminology that is used and do not use "expired" terminology.

"Regiones" ("regions") instead of "sims" or "simuladores" ("simulators") when referring to a single region.
"Residentes" ("Residents") instead of "usuarios" (users), "suscriptores" ("subscribers"), "clientes" ("customers"), "avatares", etc.
"Región privada" ("private regions") instead of "isla" ("islands"), “isla privada” (private islands), etc.
"Dólares Linden" instead of "dinero" ("money"), "dólares", "monedas", "lindens", etc.
"L$" instead of "$", when denoting Linden Dollars.
"US$" instead of "$" when denoting US dollars.

Second Life specific terminology

Many terms were "invented" for Second Life and are not part of the English vocabulary. You can see in the Glossary the approved translation.

Note about the use of the expression "real world":

In English, the term "real world" is often used to refer to the "physical" world (as opposed to the virtual world).

In Spanish we will use the same terminology: en el mundo real.

In the same way, when the source English refers to residents real first and last name, in Spanish we'll talk about "nombre y apellido en el mundo real".

Menus, pie menus, windows, dialogs, tabs, buttons, fields

  • Menu (Menú in Spanish): appear at the top of the Second Life window.
  • Pie Menu (in Spanish, Menú circular, or Menú en forma de quesito): wheel of selections that shows up whenever you right-click on something in-world.
  • Window (Ventana in Spanish): window that appears internally within the Second Life window, i.e. The Inventory window or the Search window.
  • Dialog (Aviso, Diálogo, Ventana azul... in Spanish): blue box that appears in the corner whenever something happens in Second Life (when someone or something tries to give you inventory or if it turns out you can't sit on that thing you wanted to sit on etc.)
  • Tab (Pestaña in Spanish): tab that lives inside the windows in Second Life.
  • Button (Botón in Spanish): button that appears in the UI.
  • Fields (Campo in Spanish; sometimes, Cajetín): pretty much anything used to provide input to Second Life that's not a button is a field.

Several concrete matters

  • ADJECTIVE and NAME. Please put the adjective in it's proper place. It is frequent to fall down in the mistake of write in Spanish the order of the English: adjective + name. Almost always it's better to change the order (it's better "el recurso adecuado" than "el adecuado recurso"). In addition, there be remembered that the richness of the Spanish does that this order is not indifferent. "Nuevo Residente" and "Residente nuevo" are different: "Residente nuevo" refers to the quality, "nuevo Residente" refers to the quantity. Be thought about so many examples: "camisa nueva" y "nueva camisa", "avatar nuevo" y "nuevo avatar"...
  • CLICK. It isn't acceptable translate "click" as "click", or "clic", or "apriete", or "cliquée", or similar. You must use "pulse" o "pinche".
  • EMAIL. "Email" isn't a Spanish word. Use "correo electrónico" or "correo-e".
  • ENGLISH TERMS. Don't translate brands, comercial names, trade marks, the name of a region, a button of the viewer that still appears in English...
  • ITEM / ITEMS. In Spanish with accent (tilde) in the i: ítem, ítems. Do not forget that often instead of "ítem" can be written "artículo" (especially when it comes to the inventory), "punto" or "apartado" (a text)... About the peculiar accent of the plural, see RAE: and find "ítem."
  • LINDEN LAB. Never "Linden Labs".
  • PLEASE. In Spanish, "por favor" ("please") is always between commas or following by a comma: "Recuerde, por favor, que en..."; "Por favor, pulse en...".

Knowledge Base articles

There are two basic types of Knowledge Base article: the ones that answer a specific question ("¿Cómo crear una cuenta?") and the ones that give some general knowledge about a topic ("FAQ para los propietarios nuevos de terreno").

The rules governing the tone and style of Knowledge Base articles are the same as the ones for the Viewer.

Note that the style of KB articles can be very familiar and unclear at times.

Please keep in mind that residents reading these articles are looking for an answer to a question they have. Therefore, try to be as clear and concise as possible, even if you use humour here and there.