Translation Pitfalls in the Hispanic Marketing Niche

Translation Pitfalls in the Hispanic Marketing Niche
Translation Pitfalls in the Hispanic Marketing Niche

Communicating a message and persuading a group to take action is a difficult proposition in itself.Add to that a group with cultural and linguistic differences and you will miss the opportunity entirely.

This is one of the pitfalls that marketers face when translating marketing copy to the Hispanic market.

 Many marketers still use the “one size fits all approach” when translating copy to the Hispanic group. This path of least resistance is a general practice because it  keeps  their strategy more  organized and general across the board  and  their ideas easily accepted by  management.

Yet this approach clearly  does a disservice to  them as marketers as well as the target audience they are trying to reach. It lends itself to  generalizations and stereotypes that does not speak nor  realistically represent the target market.

Marketers that continue to practice this strategy  are missing great opportunities in tapping one of the markets with the most growth in the US: The Hispanic market.

Not only is this market growing but they are a young group with a growing disposable income, but also are tech savvy, highly involved in social media, and highly influenced by family and peers. All of the factors that contribute to a marketers dream;if only done properly.

The Hispanic market is a diverse group and although most are acculturated and bilingual, they take pride of their cultural differences and hence respond to ads that are cultural relevant to them.

On the other hand, overemphasizing on the cultural aspect of the group can lead to generalizations and stereotypes that would otherwise backfire in the ad or worse yet bring the opposite response to the ads call to action.

 

HERE ARE A  FEW COMMON PITFALLS TO AVOID WHEN TARGETING THE HISPANIC MARKET*

  • Hispanics are not a homogeneous group
  • Lack of bicultural and bilingual staff
  • Assuming that Hispanics are a lower-income bracket
  • Translating  copy into Spanish but sending the wrong message
  • Misunderstanding and misusing connectors and symbols affiliated with each culture
  • Translating a website into Spanish but lacking Spanish-speaking customer care representatives
  • Fail to establish  relationships with key community influencers and leaders

*As published in Top Ten Mistakes Companies Make Marketing to Hispanics

 

HOW TO AVOID THESE PITFALLS AND  CREATE A MARKETING STRATEGY THAT WORKS

  •  Cultural relevancy – We cannot stress that enough yet this strategy is still not applied in a large number of cases and marketers fails over and over again.  If you are targeting a specific Latino group, have someone well versed and well-rounded in the group’s culture that can pinpoint the needs and wants of this group.

 

  •  Partner with influencers and community leaders Establish a relationship with businesses that already have ties with Hispanic communities. This  could help you ease the cultural barrier and bring your product or service to their attention. By partnering with these companies they can help your business increase exponentially both on and offline.

 

  •  Decreasing the language barrier Many companies believe that by translating a message from English to Spanish they are targeting them. Yet, they don’t fully embrace the customer or the customer relations aspect of the business. Although the majority of the Hispanics are fully bilingual, most buying decisions are influenced by family and  peers and  these members may still prefer to be catered in Spanish. Marketers have to be ready  to service them fully as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Crowdsourcing: Who Truly Benefits?

It seems that I follow quite the same path as other bloggers about the same issues tackling our industry. Yet, this one to me is the  most troubling simply because out of  MT, TM, and other advances affecting the industry the simple fact of supplying our expertise and ability on a volunteer basis, drives me a little crazy. What drives me crazier still is that here no one questions it. I have researched and read extensively on crowd sourcing, and all I could find was how it benefited the business community by saving them time and money; yet in all the articles I have read they did not mention  how it benefited the  translator . Surely the experience, but what these companies recruit are at some level (not all) specialists in their field , or end users of a product or service (mainly in software and computer applications) that know particularly well on the subject. For this reason, I find that the true winners here are the companies recruiting such volunteers. Yet, the idea behind crowd sourcing is the effort of collaboration and the know how these volunteers have on the subject. There have been two sides to this, because it can have wonderful results or less than average ones too. I found this video on YouTube and found it interesting on the pitfalls of crowd sourcing.

The reasoning behind it is completely understandable. The internet  has  grown at such a rapid rate that the demand for immediate information is key. Part of the reason why most of these machine translation services sprung up as well.  With the number of websites , social media sites, software applications and cellphone apps, there is such a demand for quick information that not even half  of the demand could be translated manually  much less the  information that is passing through our fingertips without us being aware of.  However, because of this as professionals we  should be at an advantage point and we are not.  As businesses  become more global, they  have found a short cut by implementing this idea to cut costs with higher output and immediacy. What was once done by one employee and possibly took  days to complete, they gather a group of people  (through an open call) many of these  volunteers or through a highly reduced rate to translate this information. Since translation is group based, many different ideas are discussed within the group to bring out the best output.  This is where most of these companies benefit from crowd sourcing. Software applications and programs are the first to benefit as  does the end user. There is  something to be noted here, that although crowd sourcing can be beneficial in one area it also depends on the level of collaboration and the level of expertise of the volunteer. (Maybe that is a good business defense).  Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linked in are all using crowd sourcing to translate their sites for free and by many accounts with many disastrous results. Yet, the incentive to reduce costs is the most enticing factor here.

Like MT sites like Google Translate and Yahoo Babel Fish, there are crowd sourcing sites as well.  Sites like  #Translate Answers , Cucumis and  Lang8 are for those who seek a a quick translation to an answer they seek or to perfect a translation they already have. Duolingo  like Lang8 is another site that sells the crowd sourcing idea  in that premise -by using it as a language learning website.

I understand that not everything in life is money but if you ( (as a large corporation) are recruiting your group for the best output of your service or product, then it should be compensated. I do believe in volunteerism but to me I would do that for particular social causes , organizations, and  non-profits  who ultimately are working for a “greater good” and that output is so much better than any other compensation. Organizations like Translators Without Borders is a great example of this. I have actually applied with them to help NGO’s around the world . Yet other organizations such as Global Voices Online and UN Volunteering Service   have used crowd sourcing as well for the same principle.

In conclusion, crowd sourcing as we know it will only continue to grow. As the demand grows, so will the necessity and the immediacy of its information. This idea is only a feasible when there is large collaboration, and someone willingness to help translate . In my opinion, without any incentive  why would any one continue?