Spanish Translation and the Hispanic Market

by Translation Guy on March 27, 2009
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Spanish translation is easy, until you get to the hard parts. I’ll get to that in a minute. The good news is that it is one of the most commonly used and translated languages in North America.

The Conference Board (one of our clients) reports that the number of Hispanic households is expected to increase at a faster pace than that of any other group in the United States, continuing a demographic explosion that began several decades ago.

Purchasing power in 2008 was $870 billion in 2008 for 44 million Spanish-speaking households and is projected to reach as much as $1.3 trillion by 2015. That’s mostly Spanish speakers from Mexico, but there are plenty of Spanish speakers from all around the world.

We are talking about a wide range in education, in dialect and affluence. The only things that unite this group are Spanish surnames and the Spanish language. So most of the time, it’s important to translate into good international Spanish in order to reach the broadest possible audience in the US and abroad. Country-specific terminology may be more appropriate if your message is directed at an audience from a single country. But we usually recommend international Spanish.

US Spanish-speaking audiences are way too big and too affluent to ignore. Again and again, we see companies heavily invested in marketing to Spanish speakers getting a great return on their translation-adaptation investment. We also do a lot of translation work with American companies with Spanish-speaking employees. They see a tremendous return from their Spanish-language investment in training and employee communication. Even if workers speak good English, Spanish remains the language of their hearts and minds, and thus the best way to train, motivate and inspire.

People who speak Spanish in the US are painfully aware that they live in a bilingual society. But many English speakers are far less conscious of this fact. Many marketers and HR people don’t think it’s worth the trouble or expense, since most US-based Hispanics “speak English already.” Yes and no. Here’s what they say at Forrester Research: Half of online Hispanics prefer Spanish-Language web sites.

“English-language sites are currently under-serving 7.1 million Hispanics online,” says Forrester Research data researcher Tamara Barber. “If companies are serious about reaching this growing audience, they need to offer Spanish-language sites. Not only does online Spanish help those who depend on Spanish for interactions, but it also builds brand value with consumers who can transact in English but prefer to be served in Spanish.”

Understanding client goals and integrating translation with Spanish language outreach is a critical part of our service, particularly because many of our clients know that translation is the place to start any multilingual effort.

Fortunately, we have a deep bench of good Spanish translators at 1-800-Translate, so our client satisfaction rate for Spanish translation is off the charts.

More on ways of getting a maximum return on your Spanish translation dollar to come.

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