10 Things Never to Say to Latino Executives (or any Latino)

April 24, 2008

Diversity Inc., a leading publication that covers diversity issues and their impact on U.S. business and society, just provided a list of ten phrases to avoid when interacting with Hispanic professionals:

1. “Don’t worry you’ll get the promotion, you’re Latina.”
2. “When did you arrive in this country?”
3. “¡Hola! ¿Habla inglés?”
4. “Do you live with your parents?”
5. “You’re not like them.”
6. “Can you show me your knife?”
7. “Why don’t all you Latinos stop doing that?”
8. “You’re not white.”
9. Butchering a Latino’s last name.
10. “Do you speak Spanish?”

Read more.

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Yes we can!…improve Obama’s Spanish-language Web site

April 21, 2008

The golden rule when adapting (or trancreating, as some prefer) a marketing message, document or materials into another language is to ensure cultural relevance, which includes linguistic accuracy. In other words, the message or content must mean something to your target audience, and it must be grammatically and orthographically correct.

When developing materials for the Hispanic market, a misspelled word, a missing orthographic accent or a too literal translation of a word can negatively impact communication with the target audience. Even worse, such mistakes can be considered disrespectful to some consumers (like me).

I recently visited Sen. Barack Obama’s official Spanish-language Web site, and I was disappointed to find many orthographic and grammar mistakes in the site. The first problem is evident: in the homepage menu the word Conózcanos appears with an orthographic accent in the last “o” when it should be in the second “o” (Conózcanos vs Conozcanós).

Also, the latest blog entry appears as “Obama Pide que se Establezca Como Dia de Fiesta Nacional el Cumpleanos de Cesar Chavez” (Obama asks that Cesar Chavez’s birthday be considered as a National Holiday) , though the words Día, César and Chávez all should have orthographic accents and the word Cumpleaños should use a “ñ” instead of an “n .” Just for reference, the word ano with an “n” is the Spanish-language word for anus, while the word año with an “ñ” means year, so using Cumpleanos could be misinterpreted.

Obama en Español

The third blog entry includes the following title “Latino Lideres de Ohio Demuestran su Apoyo a Barack Obama . “ The first two words “Latino Líderes” were translated directly from “Latino Leaders” while the correct order of the words should be the inverse “Líderes Latinos”, plus the word líderes should have an accent in the letter “i .” The rest of the text of the entry seems to have been translated with an on-line translation software and not proof read by a Spanish-language speaker. Yet, the text was signed by Conchita Cruz (a Latina name).

The Obama Hispanic team should carefully review the content of the page and avoid these evident mistakes, which are affecting the candidate’s image. A comment in the page’s blog says:

…el castellano escrito en su versión para hispanos debe ser mucho mejor. Hay demasiados errores. Posted by Jose from Chicago, IL
…the Castilian (Spanish) written in the Hispanic version of the page should be improved. There are too many mistakes. Posted by Jose from Chicago, IL

Finally, as a suggestion, the Spanish-language version of the page should also contain quotations from Obama as the English-language one does. Ideally, the page should contain the phrase “¡Sí se puede!” given the phrase’s strong appeal among U.S. Hispanics. (If you want to read more about the origin and usage of the phrase click here.)

 


MultiVu Launches Interactivo (Hispanic) Multimedia News Release

April 15, 2008

My good friends at MultiVu annonced today a new service to reach the growing on-line Latino community. No doubt it will be a great tool to complement any U.S. Hispanic PR effort. Cheers Peter (McCulsky)!

¡Felicidades!

New York, April 15, 2008 /PRNewswire/ — MultiVu™, PR Newswire’s multimedia and broadcast PR company, in conjunction with its newly-formed Hispanic division, MultiVu Latino, today announced the launch of the Interactivo Multimedia News Release, the first-ever social media press release targeted to the U.S. Hispanic audience.

The Interactivo MNR (IMNR) is a Web 2.0 interactive multimedia platform that is unique among multimedia press release offerings because it features distribution and placement of video, audio, photos and text in Hispanic social network and news sites. From language translation to content development to web distribution, MultiVu Latino works with each client to create dynamic news announcements that are tailored to a Hispanic audience and delivered directly to news and online sources that are valued by the Hispanic community.

“The Interactivo MNR is the first communications platform designed specifically for companies and organizations looking to deliver high-quality, targeted multimedia content to the Hispanic market,” said Manny Ruiz, president, Multicultural Markets & Hispanic PR Wire for PR Newswire. “The IMNR’s strength comes from the unique combination of MultiVu’s industry-leading MNR production and delivery capabilities and the breadth of Hispanic PR Wire’s media distribution network, enabling organizations to take their messages to general web audiences as well as to influential media outlets and content providers that cater to the Hispanic community.”

All Interactivo MNRs are delivered over PR Newswire’s vast distribution network to thousands of media outlets, thousands more website and online databases, and nationally to Hispanic PR Wire’s network of more than 3,000 unique Hispanic news outlets. Additionally, IMNRs will receive placement on over 100 Hispanic media websites. Video content from Interactivo MNRs is further uploaded to more than a dozen Hispanic-related video sites including MiGente, MyGrito, starMedia, and Tu.TV, Hispavista, as well as mainstream video portals, including YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo!Video, Metacafe, and Blinkx.

Headlines and photos from IMNRs are also posted in Spanish for the first time ever on the 7,400 + square foot Reuters Digital Billboard in New York City’s Times Square. All Interactivo MNRs are also optimized for search engine visibility and enhanced for Web 2.0 distribution through embedded HTML links and social media tags, such as del.ic.ious, Digg and Technorati.

“The booming U.S. Hispanic Market is right now one of the most significant emerging markets globally and the best part of that for companies large and small is that this market is right in our backyard and ready for the taking. MultiVu Latino created the Interactivo MNR to provide companies with a simple, yet dynamic medium for communicating with the Hispanic community in a manner that is both compelling and understanding of the unique attributes that make the Hispanic culture so vibrant,” Ruiz said.

In addition to its flagship Interactivo MNR, MultiVu offers clients the ability to supplement any regular geographic distribution over Hispanic PR Wire with an Interactivo Basic. The Interactivo Basic includes press release and photo posting on more than 80 of HPRW’s 100 Hispanic online news partner sites such as LatinaStyle magazine, Catalina magazine, Diario Las Americas, Vida Nueva and El Latino de San Diego, among others; press kit posting in PDF, including fact sheets, biographies, newsletters, brochures, calendar of events, registration forms and more; a full screen, live preview of the Web site related to the press release providing easy navigation through a client’s Web site from within the HPRW press release page; text hyperlinks to relevant, search engine-friendly keywords such as company, product and service brand names; and a quote box, spotlighting a significant quote or sentence from a client’s story that best highlights what the story is about.

For more information on the Interactivo MNR or Interactivo Basic, please call the dedicated toll free “bilingual” number 866.580.5326 or send an email to MultivuLatino@multivu.com.

 


MySpace Latino: Lost in Translation

April 13, 2008

On Friday, April 11, MySpace oficially launched MySpace Latino, the Spanish-language U.S Hispanic version of the social networking site. Unfortunately, MySpace didn’t get it right: they did a poor job on the translation/adaptation process of their site into Spanish. 

According to the company’s news release, the site was created as a way of:

“responding to the needs of our growing Hispanic membership, MySpace Latino offers content that is culturally relevant to Latinos in the U.S.,said VP and Managing Director of MySpace Latino, Victor Kong.

I highlighted culturally relevant because after visiting the site, I was shocked (in a bad way). The site’s copy contains many grammatical mistakes as well as the usage of words that are not common, or even understandable by their target audience.  If MySpace’s goal is to target an ever-expanding Spanish-speaking audience, then the site ought to be more respectful of them. This blunder could illustrate a lack of knowledge of – or interest in – those whom MySpace is trying to reach, or, even worse, a sign of disrespect to Spanish speakers.

The home page shows the word Entérate without an orthographic accent over the second ‘e’; in most Latin American countries this a significant grammar mistake. The only exception is Argentina, where the word is pronounced with an emphasis on the second-to-last syllable. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total number of Argentians living in the U.S. is of around 175,000, or 0.4% of the total U.S Hispanic population. This means that MySpace’s usage of the word Entérate without an orthographic accent is wrong to 99.6% of the site’s target audience. (For a broader explanation of Spanish-language orthographic accents click here.)

 Also, after signing up, I received a confirmation e-mail containing the following phrase:

Esperamos que te lo pases pipa explorando el sitio. ¿Ya te has paseado por estas zonas?

The expression “que te lo pases pipa” (to have a good time) is also a regional Argentinian phrase. For Hispanics from Mexican origin, who represent 64.1% of the population, these words mean nothing.

The following problems were also found on the home page of MySpace Latino: a) The word video is used with and without an orthographic accent (both forms are correct, but the spelling of the word should be consistent throughout the same document – though I must say that for most Latin American countries, the word video without an orthographic accent is preferred); and b) the word Inscríbete appears in the sign-in menu without an orthographic accent when it ought to have one.

Spelling and punctuation mistakes were rampant throughout the Web site. For example, one page had the word “ciudad” mispelled as “cuidad,” and on another, the word “que” did not have an orthographic accent when it should have had one. Also, a phrase that ended with an exclamation mark (!) did not have a corresponding opening mark (¡) – a bad punctuation mistake.

Such punctuation mistakes might be minor when drafting the Web site’s copy. The problem comes when these mistakes were not caught in the review process. My Space Latino’s PR firm, Edelman ( Multicultural practice group), should have caught these errors before letting their client “go live” without carefully reviewing the site. Call me a purist, but grammatical mistakes are unacceptable in a project like this because they hint at a carelessness that can be equated with lack of respect for the target audience.  After all, do you think that repeated grammar mistakes in the English-language version of MySpace would be tolerated? I don’t think so.

If it truly is MySpace Latino, then it should speak my language.

 


Update: Cinco de mayo NHTSA planner (Friends don’t let friends drive drunk)

April 11, 2008

NHTSA just launched the General Market campaign for Cinco de Mayo, an interesting element is that the famous slogan “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” was adapted to the holiday as “Amigos don’t let amigos drive drunk”…nice touch!

 See the full planner here.


Cinco de mayo NHTSA planner (Friends don’t let friends drive drunk)

April 8, 2008

Let me begin by saying that it is me in the poster below on a bad photo shoot day. The campaign was created by The Media Network, Inc. for the National Highway Traffic Safety Admistration (NHTSA) to promote among U.S. Latinos sober driving after Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

NHTSA’s web page provides the following explanation:

Cinco de Mayo has become a big night out for many, particularly young adults. But it is also a very dangerous night out because of alcohol or drug impaired drivers. Those celebrating this year should be sure and designate their sober driver in advance – before the festivities begin.

From 1999 to 2005, an average of 43 percent of all highway fatalities each year on May 5 and overnight into the early morning on May 6 were caused by impaired drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of 0.08 percent and above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“I am the designated driver”

This poster/print advertisement represents a very common way among Hispanics to make sure an individual is sober: “make the number 4 with your legs and don’t fall”. Placement of this creative would be most appropriate in restaurants, local bars, supermarkets, street fairs, parades, retail establishments that sell alcohol and publications targeting adults


Understanding Latino Boomers

April 7, 2008

Source: Marketing Charts

Focalyst, a reseach firm specialized in seniors and boomers, presented the results of a new study that provides valuable insights on one of the most complex segments of the U.S. Hispanic population: seniors 

Hispanic Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) represent approximately 10% of the US Boomer segment – over 7 million consumers – but cannot be segmented by language alone, a Focalyst study concludes.

“Marketers need to look beyond language and understand the demographic, attitudinal and behavioral differences within the Hispanic Boomer market in order to reach this target,” said Jack Lett, executive director of Focalyst.

Two in three Hispanic Boomers are “more acculturated,” considered either “Bicultural” or “Acculturated,” Focalyst said:

•Bicultural Hispanics – 24% of Hispanic Boomers – are US-born or foreign-born and have lived many years in the US; they are bilingual and consume both English and Spanish media; they identify with aspects of both cultures.
•Acculturated Hispanics – 41% – are US-born and English-dominant; they consume English media; and they identify strongly with American culture, but still keep ties with their Hispanic culture.
•Unacculturated Hispanics – 35% – are foreign-born and speak Spanish in the home; they consume more Spanish than non-Spanish media; and they identify strongly with their native culture.

Demographic Profile

The study found that Bicultural Hispanic Boomers…
•Earn 23% less income on average than General Market Boomers ($56,607 compared with $73,921) – though they are equally likely to be employed (77%).
•Are more likely to be married or partnered (75%) than both Acculturated (64%) and General Market Boomers (69%).
•Are less likely to be college educated – 55% of them have a college education, compared with 69% of Acculturated Boomers and 73% of General Market Boomers.

Family

Hispanic Boomers live in larger households (3.3 people per household vs. 2.9 for the General Market), often made up of younger children, adult children, or older relatives. Bicultural households have the largest household composition (3.6 people):

In addition…
•Acculturated Boomers are the most likely to be a caregiver for a family member, with 14% recently taking on this role.
•Besides supporting larger households, one in four Hispanic Boomers are providing substantial financial support to someone outside of their homes.
Future Plans
Acculturated Hispanic Boomers are more likely to aspire to continue their education (28%), whereas Bicultural Hispanics have more entrepreneurial desires – 32% said they want to start a new business, compared with 17% of General Market Boomers:

More findings:
•More than half (51%) of Bicultural Hispanic Boomers said it is important that their family think they are doing well:
•Fully 86% of Bicultural Hispanic Boomers agreed that they have been fortunate in life, and 80% said they have accomplished a great deal – more so than General Market (77%) and Acculturated (76%) Boomers.