If you own a business website, no matter how basic or complex, the chances are you have considered offering your web content in Spanish. You may be wondering whether such an endeavor would be lucrative or whether it is even necessary; after all, aren’t most Hispanics bilingual? The outline below will help you to see the advantage of offering your services in the Spanish language, as well as some points to consider when the decision is made to take this step in diversifying your website.
Hispanics are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States.
The Hispanic population is the largest minority in the United States. The Census Bureau has calculated the Hispanic population in the U.S. to be at 55.4 million people as of 2014. That is up from 9.6 million in 1970 and it is still growing rapidly. Economically that translates into approximately $1.5 trillion in annual purchasing power.
Alongside that, the median Hispanic age is 29, making it one of the youngest ethnic medians in the U.S. population. Combine that with about 800,000 Hispanics reaching adulthood in the U.S. annually and a progressive business can clearly expect a growing market of potential online consumers.
Data supports Hispanics’ preference for websites published in their own language.
The United States is currently the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world, according to the prestigious Instituto Cervantes. By 2050, the Census Bureau calculates that the U.S. will be the largest Spanish speaking nation on Earth, with over a third of its citizens claiming Spanish as their mother tongue. This being the case, there is definitely a long-term advantage to utilizing a bilingual format in the marketplace.
It is a common misconception that there is no need to invest in a translated website since two-thirds of the current U.S. Hispanic population is bilingual. The truth is, three-in-four of these consumers use Spanish as their main language in the home. So it is understandable to presume, as a study conducted by the Common Sense Advisory confirms, that they spend most or all of their time on websites in their first language.
A well-built Spanish website can draw in this neglected populace.
Worldwide, less than 10% of the content on the internet is in Spanish, although over one-third of the internet users are Hispanic. This is a huge opportunity from a marketing prospective to reach a virtually untapped segment of the population.
The Hispanic community within the U.S. has proven responsive when marketing is relevant to their language and culture. Unfortunately, within the U.S., many Hispanics are left to try to navigate the English website versions. Even when a Spanish version exists, often the sites are not used due to poor translations and culturally irrelevant content.
How to effectively translate your website to reach your Hispanic consumers.
The Hispanic population in the U.S. is highly diversified. The Spanish language has several variations among different national backgrounds. The celebrated cultural events are also different for every Spanish speaking group. In other words, it’s not a one-size-fits-all application if a business wants to develop a website which relates to the Hispanic population.
Here are a few factors to consider:
- Create customized domains. Don’t just translate your website, create your Hispanic site using the Spanish language and with cultural relevance.
- Offer bilingual versions. Some consumers feel more comfortable searching in one language and finalizing sales in another.
- Make sure all aspects of the website are translated – PDFs, blogs, etc.
- Research frequently used Spanish keywords. Different language groups utilize their own search words according to culture.
- Consider investing in a language identification tool. This tool will allow your website to offer a domain in the language the consumer’s browser is using.
- Have a Spanish expert evaluate your website. Nothing would be worse for your business than mistranslating English into an offense Spanish term.
- Keep your translated website updated. Too often these sites are not maintained causing the users to feel neglected and irrelevant.
With the Hispanic population growing to approximately one-third of the U.S. within the next thirty years and the cyber consumer community growing at a rapid pace, catering to the Hispanic consumer is a wise and long term investment. One that any U.S. business hoping to grow and diversify should be considering.