In lexical, morphological, syntactic and ortho-typographic corrections, the supreme authority that dictates the standards of the Spanish language is the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) and its most recent publications.
The application of these norms has to be flexible and take into account aspects such as usage, regional variants, the characteristics of the audience targeted by the material and the particularities of the scientific or academic field that the material belongs to. This way, between two correct and generally accepted forms, Costa Ricans will prefer the one that is most utilized in Costa Rica. For example, they will use the word periodo (without an accent, as this is the norm in Costa Rica), instead of using período, (with an accent on the “i”, as it is commonly used in other Spanish-speaking regions). Readers should replace the last statement and example with one that is illustrative for their country .
In order to maintain the language as comprehensible as possible, especially when the usage of a word is very extensive and has already been acknowledged by famous dictionaries (María Moliner, Vox, Clave for the Spanish language; Longman, Macmillan, Oxford for the English language etc.), it is preferred to use the most popular form, instead of the most academic one (even if the latter is strictly correct), keeping in mind that the actual tendency of RAE is to accept as correct variants used in non-peninsular countries. An example is that of the word concientizar, which has been considered incorrect for a long time, because it did not appear in most Dictionaries; however, the 2001 edition of this dictionary, as well as the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts (2005) have accepted this word in the Latin American geographical environment.
Neologisms that haven’t yet been registered in any standard lexical source require an investigation of the language corpus and a scan of web pages using internet search engines, to confirm that the said form is already part of common usage. This can only be done in exceptional cases.
The copy editor also has to apply the editorial norms defined by the editorial or the client, through the rules in his guide or manual of style, or the specific instructions made by the main editor.