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Why Translate Your Website Into Spanish

Is your website living up to its potential? Are you reaching as many prospective clients as possible? What are you doing in terms of reaching your non-English speaking customers? These are important questions you need to ask yourself while building your online marketing plan and defining your online target market and goals.

Consider this.

• The U.S. is home to more than 45 million Hispanics, making it the world's second-largest Spanish-speaking community, only after Mexico and ahead of Colombia, Spain, and Argentina

• Hispanics will count for nearly one out of every five U.S. residents by 2012

• Today, the online Spanish-speaking market represents almost $500 billion in spending power

Hispanics living in the U.S. are hungry for Spanish-language information online. They want to conduct research, find product information, and make purchases online. And they want to do it in their language of choice.

Now consider this:

• Only 1% of English websites are translated into Spanish

That's not only a problem for Hispanics, but it's an even larger problem for companies that want Hispanics' business but only offer English-language websites.

According to recent data from Clientize, a marketing research firm, Hispanics are more likely to take their money and loyalty to companies that have Spanish-language websites.

Survey data also indicates that more than 75 percent of Hispanics would feel valued as a customer if a company's website were available in Spanish. A whopping 76 percent of respondents said they would visit the Spanish-language version of the site more frequently than the English version. And fully 72 percent said they would purchase products or services from the Spanish site.

The value of having such a site can be tremendous, but in order to expand your business into the Spanish market, it’s not enough to simply translate your website from English to Spanish. So what's the secret to your organization earning its share of this interest and revenue?

You need to get the language right.

You don’t need to spend time and money creating a completely different "Spanish-centric" site—a site with different colors, design, and content. Research shows that Hispanics want an identical user experience to your English site ... but in Spanish. They want the same look, feel and content; they don't want a diluted version with limited features, functionality or product offerings.

But you do need to pay attention to Hispanic cultural nuances. It is not only knowledge of the language; it’s understanding the differences in meaning that are specific to a particular country or region.

Following are some marketing mishaps that were a waste of advertising dollars, often requiring additional investment to “clean up the mess” and start fresh with a whole new campaign to reach this market segment.

• A Miami T-shirt maker targeted the Spanish market with t-shirts commemorating the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the t-shirts proudly proclaimed, “I saw the potato” (la papa).

• The famous slogan “Got milk?” was translated as “Are you lactating?”

• Braniff Airlines, trying to promote its new leather seats to Hispanics, translated “fly in leather” as “fly naked.” Not surprisingly, they had plenty of empty seats to South America.

Use a professional translator and make sure this will never happen to you.
About Author Mariela Perez-Simons :

Perez-Simons Content Solutions provides Internet Marketing services such as Spanish website translations, web design, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Spanish for companies interested in reaching the Hispanic market. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Tuesday, February 17, 2009
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