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.



  • 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



  •  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.






How Are You Using Social Media To Promote Yourself?

I have been away for awhile and I feel I have neglected my blog completely. It is very telling through my stats that it needed some work again and get the momentum that it had before. In due time, I will  pick up the pace.

Yesterday I attended a social media seminar and how to use the new mediums to promote yourself and your business, and it  kept me thinking how many of us are using it, using it effectively, or not using it at all. You will be surprised how  many in the group still resisted the idea of using Twitter and other social media for that matter. It just got me thinking that if these people don’t get on the program many will become irrelevant and their business will suffer. There is not a person nowadays that does not have a smartphone with them. If they are not current how will they be reached or even visible to the public for that matter.  Although there are many applications out there, I don’t use all of them either and it is not because I have not liked to; but because I did too many that I eventually had to do away with a few. When you are in too many social networks and link each and every account,that becomes a bit  of an overkill. I did this in the beginning and found out that my tweets were duplicating or even triplicating across  the networks.  That could irritate  anybody!

So, I stuck with the Big Three and it has given me the best results. As of now Twitter and Linkedin seem to have reaped the most benefits to me. By posting relevant material and important links I have found to have a relevant following on Twitter and  now after many months they are turning into professional connections. Of all the social media sites Linkedin to me is the most professional and allows you to fully connect with others in the field. By using groups and fully participating in them, I have gotten wonderful resources and  information for my business.  I have reached the maximum of 50 groups and although it does become a challenge to read through all  the email, I do take the time to read and participate. Lastly, my Facebook page  that although still small, has been getting some ground. This is where my followers  receive my blog posts and other resources I find useful.  I love the idea of the page because you are able to show yourself as a professional but be a little social too and interact with your followers. What I did find challenging at first was to engage conversation and have others comment on my links. That seems to be changing now.

Now with Google + I still have got to get the handle on that one but in yesterday’s seminar they did mention the importance of  Google Places. If you do have an existing physical location, you can claim a page in Google Places and   they will map it and when someone looks for your type of business in a given area, they rank you not by keywords like before, but by the number of reviews and good reviews you have. Even if you are not with the specified area  just by the number of reviews you rank highly in the search. These reviews act as a  testimonial of sorts the ones we love to have on our website . We would love to have those as well on our Google Places page . As a freelancer, I did not see how that going to help me really, I work from a laptop (the beauty of our business) but if you do establish an office at some point, maybe this would be the thing to do. Ask the clients who normally rave about your work to write a couple of reviews on your business and see your name  rise quite quickly in the search engines.

I will definitely look into it.

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?