Marketing to Hispanics and discerning the Spanish language variations


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The Spanish language is as diverse and complex as the people that
speak it. Businesses are realising fast that to benefit from the
growing spending power of the world’s Hispanic population; they need
to produce web copy, marketing materials and develop branding that is
suitable for a range of Spanish language variations.

According to Ethnologue, Spanish is spoken in 44 countries. The total
number of Spanish speakers is approximately 329 million, making it the
second most commonly spoken language in the world after Mandarin

The language itself has its origins in the Castile region of Spain,
however it is widely spoken in Central and South America, as well as
the Western Sahara, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines and
increasingly in the United States.

Euromonitor ( International stated that “Hispanic or Latino” refers
to people who originate from Spanish-speaking nations. “The U.S.
Census Bureau defines ‘origin’ as either the heritage, nationality
group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s
parents or ancestors before their arrival in the US. It stresses,
however, that people who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic,
or Latino may be of any race.”

So why is it so important for marketers and organisations to
communicate in Spanish to reach Hispanic consumers? Marketers should
recognise the rapid growth of the Hispanic population and their
growing influence in terms of cultural trends and global online spend.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, one in six Americans identified
themselves as Hispanic. However even the term Hispanic is used to
represent a hugely diverse population with origins in countries as
varied as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic,
Argentina, Chile, and of course, Spain.

In addition, a report from AOL/Roper stated that the growing, young
Hispanic population in the US “heavily relies on the Internet to
learn more about products, to share opinions, and to improve their
lives.” They also use the Internet more than non-Hispanics, spending
an average of 9.2 hours online each week compared with 8.5 hours a
week for the general web-using population.

Common Sense Advisory recently published some analysis of the online
spending power and influence of the leading languages online. It found
that Spanish-speaking web users will generate an ‘e-GDP’ totaling
$3,496 billion this year.

There’s no doubt that businesses should look at ways to reach
Spanish-speaking consumers, but the nuances of Spanish language and
culture should not be overlooked. Sonia Benson, SVP at global
advertising agency network, Draftfcb – herself originally from
Colombia – explained the importance of Spanish translation, with an
eye and an ear for regional variations. She mentions an example that
in Mexican Spanish that the “words for asking a person to lunch are
the same as asking someone to dinner in Columbian Spanish.” Benson
adds, “Spanish is a rich language, that’s different from one culture
to the next. You have to be sensitive to cultural nuances.”

The Hispanic market’s socio-economic, acculturation and demographic
profile continues to grow influence and power worldwide. Marketers
need to understand and discern the Spanish language variations to help
them target and segment their messages for the Hispanic market. In
order to effectively launch campaigns, it will require a qualified
language service provider (LSP) that specialises in Spanish
translation using experienced and professional linguists, translators
and voice talents who are natives of the target language.

Common Sense Advisory, Inc. ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in
2012. July 17, 2012.
Ethnologue. Summary by language size. Web. Retrieved from:
Euromonitor International. Changing Ethnic Mix: Impact of Immigration
and Ethnicity on Consumer Market Demand to 2010. October 2005
Koyen, Jeff. “The Truth About Hispanic Consumers.” Adweek. March
12, 2012.

About Merrill Brink International
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provider of complete translation and language solutions for global
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