Spanish in the United States
The Spanish-speaking population is one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, especially in the United States, and Spanish Translation US can help you reach this growing market.
As far as language is concerned, it is estimated that more than 70% of Hispanic households speak mostly or only Spanish at home. This takes into account second- and third-generation Hispanics who have lived their entire lives in the United States. Therefore, from a cultural standpoint, the Spanish language continues to be an important form of communication, even for native-born or “acculturated” US Hispanics.
While the importance of the Hispanic segment is self-evident, less straightforward is the challenge of communicating effectively with this influential segment. To find the answer, it is important to take a step back to understand exactly who is “Hispanic.” This is especially important from a language perspective, as Hispanics are a mix of many nationalities. The term Hispanic was first coined by the U.S. Census to try to classify Latin Americans living in the U.S. This is important because Latin American Spanish is somewhat different than Spanish from Spain, and over the passing centuries since Spain colonized (and subsequently lost influence over) its Central and South American territories, regional Spanish vocabulary (even for such simple things as fruits and vegetables) has diverged kaleidoscopically, integrating local native vocabulary into their local language. “Hispanic” Spanish, therefore, can be standardized as more of a mix of dialects and cultures from over 20 countries in Latin America and requires special attention, linguistically speaking. To add to this complexity, U.S. media sources, including traditional U.S. media in English (as well as leading U.S. Spanish media companies such as Univision, Telemundo and CNN “en Español”), have an important influence on Hispanic Spanish.
All of these considerations must be taken into account when translating for the Hispanic market. Companies that use content for the Spanish (European) market are making a grave marketing mistake, as Hispanics respond more to the “flavors” of Spanish spoken in Latin American countries. In particular, Mexico and the Central American countries—as well as Colombia in particular—have a strong influence on the US Hispanic market and media due to their proximity to the United States.
While it may appear that the use of Latin American Spanish is the solution to reach the Hispanic market, further discussion is necessary. Due to differences in the concentrations of, say, Mexicans vs. Hondurans and Salvadorans, for example, in any given US city, it is often necessary to tailor content even further to address a particular region. For example, the Hispanic Spanish spoken in New York is very different from the Hispanic Spanish spoken in Los Angeles. Hispanics living in Los Angeles and Houston have a stronger Mexican influence, while Hispanics in New York have more roots in Puerto Rico and South America. In fact, it has been found that marketing campaigns targeted to Hispanics in New York are not as effective in other areas of the U.S. This is due in part to cultural reasons, but is also directly related to language issues.