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While listening to a podcast from SpanishPod recently, I came across this section where they were discussing the Spanish for various computer-related terms and one of the hosts gave liga as the Spanish for link, the stuff that when clicked leads to a different web page.

Elsewhere, I have also heard two other words for the same term: vínculo and enlace. Do all three really mean the exact same thing? I want to know if there's any, just any, difference among the three whatsoever. Any subtle difference?

And if they are all really the same thing, which is the preferred word in which region? Which of the three is preferred in Mexico? What about other parts of the world?

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Vínculo, that evil word from Microsoft... –  JoulSauron Jun 13 at 12:53

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In México we can use vínculo or enlace but it is more common to use liga.

The later is used in a day to day conversation, vínculo and enlace are more formal.

By the way... ligar as a verb is used here when referring to flirting.

 ¿Cuál es la liga para comprar esa bolsa en ebay?

 Pásame la liga para entrar a tu sitio.
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The original meaning of link, IIUIC, is each of the rings of a chain. That is Spanish is eslabón. (cf. The missing link / El eslabón perdido).

Then, in English, link is also used to mean conection or even relation. That in Spanish would be conexión, enlace or relación.

In Internet, link is actually a short form of the original hyperlink (remember that HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol). That was usually translated as hiper-enlace or hiper-vínculo (with our without dashes). Then, when the English form shortened to link the Spanish one did the same to vínculo or enlace.

As a new meaning for an old word, I don't think that neither vínculo or enlace are better than the other. Personally, I prefer enlace. It just sounds better to me (I'm from Spain).

However, about the other word you comment, liga, I think it is used solely because it sounds similar to the English one, so would be it better avoided. Ligar means tie or bind, only somewhat similar to link.

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I agree enlace is really the only thing that works, but vínculo makes sense as well. –  Cayetano Gonçalves Jun 13 at 15:17
    
@CayetanoGonçalves: The thing is that enlace sounds nice, but the older hiperenlace sounds a bit weird to Spanish ears, maybe because of the syllabification: it would be natural to do it as hi-pe-ren-la-ce, but the speaker tries to keep the prefix separated as hi-per--en-la-ce. Hipervínculo does not have this issue so it may have been preferred in the early days of Internet. –  rodrigo Jun 13 at 15:45

Here in Chile, we say link, vínculo or enlace.

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Link, in the meaning you describe, is indistinctly translated in Spain and Mexico as vínculo or enlace.
There are no nuances when using one or the other, so probably is a matter of habitude in using one or the other.
For example, Microsoft uses vínculo exclusively for their software localized in Spanish from Spain (es_es), and vínculo or enlace, depending of the package, when in Spanish from Mexico (es_mx). However, enlace is as widely used as vínculo in Spain.

Source

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Though, looking to Microsoft for translations is probably not the best idea. They after all translated English font as fuente (tipografía or tipo being the words actually used by typographers) and refuse to fix it even after I've reported it many times. –  guifa Jun 26 at 3:00
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Yes, that's true, they used to use "mouse" as spanish translation for "mouse". But the fact is that sometimes the wide use of a translation makes it more understandable; even bad uses of words have become accepted because of its wide use. Think of the use of "incierto" as synonym for "false" (which is incorrect as "incierto" means "uncertain"), widely used by spanish politicians as a more politically correct way to say "falso". Finally, "incierto" is now accepted by the Real Academia Española de la Lengua as synonym for "false". –  Roberto Jun 27 at 8:56

The three words are exatly the same, but enlace and vínculo are for the formal speech and text while liga and link are the "informal" ones but ther's no problem for using both words in formal talking. Personally I've never said liga, me and my environment use link. I'm from México.

  1. That's the link.
  2. Ese es el enlace.
  3. Ese es el vínculo.
  4. Esa es la liga.
  5. Ese es el link.
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