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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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.

 


Pitching to Hispanic Media

March 4, 2008

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A couple of days ago, I helped prepare Natalia, a colleague, for her Hispanic media pitching debut. After a brief chat, I drafted the following email:

 As we discussed, the following are some personal recommendations when pitching to Hispanic media outlets.

1.-Double-check the name and info of the journalist before sending a release. Do some research through Vocus (and Bacon’s) or by visiting the publication’s Web site, to make sure that you are sending the information to the right person and if possible read what he/she has published in the past. Look for topics, style, tone and interests, this will help you “sell” your story better.

2.-Send a personalized e-mail that briefly explains the press release and copy the text of the release in your message. Some journalists wouldn’t open a message from an unknown source if it contains attachments.

3.-Always include your contact number, Hispanic journalists always want to have a real and reachable person to answer questions.

4.-Use a catchy subject line that both grabs the journalist attention and provides him/her an idea of the content of the message. Avoid using simple or generic subject lines like: “Comunicado de Prensa” (Press Release) “Informacion importante de….” (Important information), you risk your message to be lost in the clutter, or confused as spam.

5.-Make a follow-up call.

-If you are fortunate enough to talk to the journalist, keep in mind that you will have between 30 to 60 seconds to catch his/her attention. Consider that a press release may not be a hot topic, so try to find angles for a possible story.-If you leave a Voice Message (VM) you will have to communicate everything in 30 seconds, let him or her know that you have sent an email with the information. For a VM, I would recommend using phrases like “This information would be of great interest to you readers” or “You can provide a valuable service to you readers”. Leave your phone an email at the end of the message (repeat it at least once)

-If you were able to talk to the journalist, send a follow-up mail thanking him/her for their time and letting them know that you can be available for questions or help while writing the story. This way you will have a contact you can rely on for future efforts.

6.-For some smaller publications, be prepared to talk for a long time. Some editors and journalist are real talkers, and will want to chat with you about topics that matter to Hispanics.

7.-Always smile while talking over the phone…and try to have fun!

Two hours later, Natalia had nailed down her first placement in Miniondas, a weekly newspaper in the Los Angeles DMA with a weekly circultation of 45,000 copies.


Adapting messages: Correct usage of Spanish Language (Part I)

March 3, 2008

Gonzalo Salvador (aka González), a PR colleague, just shared with me a presentation with great advice and insights that should be consider when adapting any English document or message into Spanish.

I. Assumptions to Avoid

A.-Not every person who speaks Spanish is an expert in the Spanish language.

B.-Not all Hispanics are equal. Usage of the Spanish language among U.S. Hispanics depend on different factors such as country of origin, generation, region of residence. Each group has its own vocabulary and its own colloquialisms.

If you are thinking about asking…

Q: What are the differences between Hispanics and Latinos and what is the right word to use?
A: This question could create a long discussion. Just as a reference in the East Coast is more widely used “Hispanics” while in the West Coast is “Latinos.”

Q: Is there a standard Spanish I can use?
A: No. But you can use neutral words and you can use the Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy) dictionary as a reference. Remember to always use language appropriate to you target audience.

II. Common Grammatical Mistakes

A.-Try avoid the use of gerunds (-ando, -endo).
Example: Use “salta” (to jump) instead of “saltando” (jumping).

B.-Use active verbs when possible: Try to avoid the translation of the have + verb form into Spanish. Example: He has jumped (el ha saltado), might sound better as (el salta or el saltó)

C.-Avoid commonly misused words.

Quiz: Are the following translations correct?:

Protester: Protestante
A: Incorrect. It should be “manifestante.” Protestante means protestant (religious denomination)

Facilities: Facilidades
A: Incorrect. It should be “instalaciones.” Facilidades is related to easy.

Aplication: Aplicación
A: Incorrect. It sould be “solicitud.” Aplicación means “to apply towards…” such as to apply force.

Act: Ley
A: Correct. “Acta” in Spanish is a document.

D.-Always try to use alternatives to gender.
i.e. Avoid using she/he (ella, él)

E.-Check for the order of words in a sentence. (Nuevo Carro, Carro Nuevo)

F.-Avoid using too many articles (la, el). (leísmo)
Example: Women’s Health Center as Centro de la Salud de las Mujeres. It is better to use: Centro Médico para Mujeres.
By the way, the comas (,) are always located outside marks. (i.e. “”, not “,”)

To be continued…