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Just earlier I was about to mention to somebody in Spanish that I was in a Stack Exchange chat room and I realized I didn't know how to say it in Spanish.

There's a bunch of words for "room":

  • cuarto
  • habitación
  • sala
  • salón

There's also at least a couple of words for "chat":

  • charlar
  • platicar

Of course a more formal word might be used for "chat" or even I suspect the word borrowed straight from English. Which is the "best" way to express "chat room" in Spanish?


There's now an applied equivalent of this question on meta: What should we call our "Chat Room"?

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I've heard chatear most often used to describe online chatting. If I tell someone estoy platicando, they ask ¿por teléfono, o en linea? But if I say estoy chateando, they know immediately. But I would guess that chatear is a Spanglish word, and likely most common in Mexico. –  Flimzy Nov 18 '11 at 14:43
    
I thought I first spotted chatear in Central America and added it to Wiktionary but when I was looking for these words I didn't see it so I assumed I had imagined it and didn't include it in my question. Thanks for bringing it up! Aha it is in Wiktionary after all - looks like I did pick it up in Honduras (-: –  hippietrail Nov 18 '11 at 15:02
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Chatear is used extensively in Latin America, so "salón de chat" is not uncommon. –  Diego Mijelshon Nov 18 '11 at 21:52

2 Answers 2

Here's what the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas says about chat:

chat. Voz tomada del inglés chat (‘charla’), que significa ‘conversación entre personas conectadas a Internet, mediante el intercambio de mensajes electrónicos’ y, más frecuentemente, ‘servicio que permite mantener este tipo de conversación’. Es voz masculina y su plural es chats (→ plural, 1h): «Los españoles se conectan a los chats una media de 6,3 días al mes» (Teknokultura [P. Rico] 8.01). Es anglicismo asentado y admisible, aunque se han propuesto sustitutos como cibercharla o ciberplática (→ ciber-). Está igualmente asentado el uso del verbo derivado chatear, ‘mantener una conversación mediante el intercambio de mensajes electrónicos’.

So the word chat is not only established but also accepted in Spanish (even though it has no entry in the DRAE) and it can be safely used.

To answer this question, the most common term to refer to a chat room would be

el chat o también sala de chat.

and this can be verified by the number of Google hits. Of course, other expressions such as

sala de charla o sala de conversación

are also valid, but el chat o sala de chat would certainly be the most common terms for "chat room".

Just as a note: until I searched the DPD for chat and found the above quoted entry (a total surprise to me, I must confess), I firmly believed that the word chat shouldn't be used in Spanish; now, my opinion obviously has changed. It's amazing how, thanks to questions like this one, I can learn new facts about my language everyday.

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This is absolutely correct. I can't stand saying chat in Spanish, but regrettably it's what everyone says. Worse still, now when I suggest chateando, instead of people suggesting good spots for wine, they start trading internet handles :-) –  guifa Jun 25 at 2:33

Chat room - sala (de charla)

"Charlar" is more used in Spain, "platicar" more used in Americas. More formal and neutral is "conversar".

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+1 I agree with sala or salón. They sometimes make a mix: "salón de chat" –  Joze Nov 18 '11 at 13:16
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sala de conversación gets ~170,000 Google hits, sala de charla gets ~1,710,000, and sala de plática gets ~387,000. But sala de chat gets a whopping ~13,000,000! All the variants with salón in place of sala exist but get a lot fewer hits. –  hippietrail Nov 18 '11 at 13:19
    
well, most Spaniards just say "messenger" anyway ;-) –  vartec Nov 18 '11 at 13:25
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@vartec: "messenger" usually means a one-on-one conversation, not a chat room; at least in English, and in Mexican Spanish... is it understood differently in Spain? –  Flimzy Nov 18 '11 at 16:58
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As far as I know, the only country where "platicar" is widely used is Mexico. –  Shaz Nov 21 '11 at 21:29

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