Speak Their Language

by Julie Hall

I had the opportunity last month to attend the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Orlando Area Chapter’s breakfast meeting on communicating with the Hispanic market.  Following the panel presentation, I came across this Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog post that touched on many of the same points made by the FPRA speakers.

As the HBR article says, the Hispanic market is on track to reach $1.5 trillion in purchasing power in the United States next year and the audience is one that marketers cannot afford to ignore.  When you’re trying to reach the Hispanic market, it’s recommended to at least adapt your message into a neutral dialect of Spanish.  But as the HBR article and the recent FPRA presenters suggested, you can’t simply translate your original content into Spanish and expect a completely favorable response.

The idea of “transcreating,” developing specific content with a multicultural audience in mind, doesn’t apply just to the Hispanic market, or other ethnic groups for that matter.  As with any communications effort, it’s imperative to create specific content and tailor your messages to meet the needs of your various target audiences.  If you’re not speaking the language of your audience (both in the actual words and the context of your message), you’re missing the point.

One Response to Speak Their Language

  1. ccosner says:

    This is a really interesting point. I recently created a campaign for a local nonprofit that centered around food bank donations. At one of the meetings someone mentioned translating the materials I created into Spanish. I was all for the idea, but I am not a native speaker of the language. In fact, no one at the table was. Making sure our campaign “speaks” to Spanish speakers is important and translating it verbatim isn’t the solution. To be successful we need someone who can translate the overall message!

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