Lost in Translation: Spanish Content Writing and the High Price of Low Cost

How do feel when reading an article or blog written in error-filled English? Sure, you might overlook a few typos or misplaced modifiers, but did you feel like the person writing the piece had you in mind? Did you feel connected to the content, or were you waiting for it to end?

Reaching out to the Hispanic market is no different; Spanish content writing must come from a place of authenticity. To make a valuable connection with readers, you must speak their language and create content that offers insight, thought leadership, and a bit of entertainment. I can hear you already, “But, with so many automated and in-person translation services available, why should I make the investment?” I’m glad you asked, and happy to answer.

The US Government Botches Spanish Content

A recent report on Obamacare enrollment in California – a state with a Hispanic population nearing 40% – indicated upsetting results from the government’s enrollment campaign. Only one-third of eligible native Spanish speakers in California completed the enrollment. Though administrators are scratching their heads, the Hispanic community isn’t confused about the results. After all, Spanish content writing shares the same goals as English content: to inform and engage.

Between poor translation and a sloppy approach to health education, Spanish-speaking Californians are left out in the cold. Here are a few costly mistakes that serve as a lesson to marketers everywhere:

  • Millions of brochures and pamphlets – written in English – were distributed to Hispanic communities.
  • Automatic translation services and a disjointed combination of Spanish and English were used to create CuidadDeSalud.gov, the government’s Spanish healthcare website.
  • Spanish content writing was shoved aside, leaving interpretation of healthcare rules and allowances to enrollment counselors.

This mishap is a glimmering example of the real cost of getting lost in translation.

It’s Not Life and Death – It’s Marketing

What happens when there’s not a life and death situation to overcome? “It’s only marketing,” some might say. While there is little chance of the government going out of business, your business doesn’t always have the luxury of saying, “We’ll do better next time.” Your goal is to get it right from the start. Content has the power to make a connection with the Hispanic demographic when created by writers fluent in Spanish.

Reaching the Hispanic Market with Targeted Content

According to recent estimates, the Hispanic population is expected to grow at a rapid rate over the next 5-10 years. Currently hovering just above 50 million, the US’ Hispanic community is primed to gain major purchasing power in the years to come. Hispanics will account for $1.5 trillion in purchases by 2015. Whether your company sells widgets, cars, or professional services, reaching the Hispanic demographic is more important than ever. To resonate with Hispanic customers and prospects, Spanish content writing is a must.

3 Elements of Successful Spanish Content

Like all marketing strategies, it sometimes pays to “go big or go home.” Creating content for Spanish-speakers requires brands to think outside of the box while attending to the interests, concerns, and challenges of the Hispanic community. Before creating Spanish content, consider the following:

  • Culture – A telltale sign your brand cut corners with Spanish content writing is a lack of attention to Hispanic culture. To help your content hit home, enlist the help of someone with knowledge of the culture and its intricacies.
  • Social – Hispanics use social media to follow brands, make recommendations, and discover new products and services more than any other demographic. Promoting Spanish content on social media and engaging followers is a great way to increase your Hispanic customer base.
  • Local – From bridging the generation gap to inspiring renewed confidence in local commerce, Spanish content writing can be used to further segment your audience while improving local marketing strategies.

There is more to writing great content than translation, so trusting translation services to reach the Hispanic community with your message is risky. Ensure each element of successful Spanish content is incorporated into every published piece.

Use Content to Strengthen Customer Relationships

Spanish content writing is capable of forging a solid connection between a client and your brand, resulting in higher conversions, a larger base of loyal customers, and increased brand awareness within the Hispanic community. McDonald’s is a great example of a company effectively targeting the Hispanic market. Awarded Marketer of the Year from the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), McDonald’s is one megabrand getting Spanish content writing correct. Here’s what they’ve done:

  • Customized a domain – In McDonald’s case, adding MeEncanta.com to its collection of domain names was a profitable move. This small step made it possible for Spanish-speakers to go directly to a familiar domain – and return.
  • Utilized culturally relevant content – By adding Spanish songs, games, and content to MeEncanta.com, McDonald’s created a culturally relevant digital space specifically catering to the demographic.
  • Added a variety of content – Like English-speaking customers, Hispanics want more than a menu and blog post – they want engagement. McDonald’s captured the attention of its growing global market through adding a variety of content.

With over 70% of online customers spending the majority of their time browsing websites in their language, it pays to take Spanish content seriously. As the Hispanic population of the United States increases, brands need to secure reputable content writing services capable of providing well-written, engaging, and conversion-inspiring Spanish content.

Do you trust translation services to preserve the integrity of brand-customer relationships?

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Victoria

Victoria Schleicher is a graduate of the University of South Florida and holds a BA in Psychology. Although Victoria was successful in the mental health field, she chose to instead pursue her passion for writing and art, and is happy to be a part of the Content Equals Money team. When not writing, Victoria likes to create art, play with her cat, read, and go running.

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