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Different influences on Spanish and Mexican Spanish

Spain and Mexico both have influential neighbours to the north and this is sometimes reflected in the differences between the two varieties of Spanish. Here are a few of the terms I’ve noticed where Mexico follows an English form and Spain a French one.

Mexico Spain
licencia de manejar
(US Eng: driving license)
carnet de conducir
(Fr: carnet de conduire)
reporte (Eng: report) informe
extinguidor (Eng: extinguisher) extintor (Fr: extincteur)
tanque de gasolina (US Eng: gas tank) depósito de gasolina
computadora (Eng: computer) ordenador (Fr: ordinateur)

But this isn’t the whole story. Spain has taken the anglicism “marketing” while Mexico has “mercadotecnia”. Spain has “parking” (via French) for “car park” where Mexico has “estacionamiento”.

Curiously, French Canadian has permis (rather than carnet) de conduire.

These few examples show the importance of working with a translator who is based in the country where your target language is spoken. Thanks to distinct usages such as these, a Mexican-Spanish speaker will be able to tell immediately if a piece of marketing collateral, say, was written in a diferent version of Spanish.

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