Today I added El Pais in RSS to my Netvibes and realized that the Spanish headlines have many more words than headlines in English. I wonder if this is a matter of style or if Spanish simply takes more words to say the same thing.

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Pablo Roca on June 15, 2006  · 

Hi Martín,

Both assumptions are partly right– Spanish usually takes around 15% more words than English to say the same thing, but it is also a matter of style. By comparing papers in Spanish from both sides of the Atlantic, you may notice the difference in lenght: American Spanish newspapers write shorter, more “telegraph-like”, leads than Iberian Spanish ones. A matter of tradition.



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hombrelobo on June 15, 2006  · 

I think it has to do more with how the Spanish media sees the RSS feeds: wrongly. They think people only read the headlines, and they discourage people doing mash-ups of them. I have a mash-up of english news at, but when I tried something similar in Spanish, it ended up being a mesh (and El Pais and El Mundo specifically say don’t do it)

Regarding your comment on the sizes of the sentences, some senteces can be said shorter in English and some in Spanish. Try to say “Envíaselo hoy” in english: “Send it to them today” …. 🙂

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Bryan on June 16, 2006  · 

I think by saying fewer words, you capture a more general audience’s attention, while a more descriptive headline captures a more profound attention from a relatively smaller audience.

My guess of the reason behind this, looking at headlines in American news websites is that they want more clicks, just like most other things in the US, quantity outweighs quality. So many times I’ve been decived by some sort of undetailed headline to find the article’s not what I thought it would be and I it makes me feel cheated.

I love your work, as soon as I get out of this boonies, I’ll be signing up for Fon.


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