English speakers usually refer to it as the "at sign", but other languages are much more creative. Many languages use the shape of the symbol as their inspiration: Czechs and Slovakians use zavináč (rollmop), Italians say chiocciola (snail), in Dutch it is an apenstaartje (monkey tail), and it's a shtrudel in Hebrew.
Animal references are also popular. Polish speakers call it a malpa (monkey), the Greeks say παπάκ (duckling), and the Taiwanese refer to it as a hsiao lao shu (little mouse). All are certainly more entertaining the official English typographic name which is "commercial at".
Image by Horia Varlan under Creative Commons license.
Savvy marketers know that giving their customers the option to receive the information they need in the language they prefer always makes sense. Companies that want to grow market share and increase revenue can reach out to online Hispanics with Spanish translations of their websites. Here's how to get it right from the start.
1. Always provide contact information so that your customers can call, write or email you with their questions and feedback in Spanish. This information should be visible on every page in Spanish.
2. Make sure that the hyperlinks on the Spanish pages lead to other pages in Spanish. Taking your customers to the English part of your site may cause them to abandon the site before they make a purchase.
3. Work with a professional translation company. Bilingual employees may not have the necessary writing skills to re-create your content in Spanish. Language service providers include proofreading as part of their translation services.
4. Remember to have forms, terms of service, and FAQs translated for your Spanish-speaking customers.
5. Include testimonials from Latino clients and employees. Word of mouth carries a lot of weight among Hispanics.
6. If visitors to your site can sign up for periodic emails or a newsletter, offer your Latino customers something for them.
7. A Spanish translation will usually take up 20% to 25% more space than the original English text. If this extra copy won't fit in your page layouts, edit the original copy or try using a slightly smaller font.
8. The translation should be in neutral Spanish. Your business will benefit by reaching all Spanish speakers without offending any of them. Neutral Spanish avoids regional language variations and slang, and is easily understood by all U.S. Hispanics.
In "Good Content is Critical for Reaching Hispanics Online", Lee Vann says the scarcity of quality content online for Hispanics provides a big opportunity for advertisers. He reminds companies that online marketing is for engaging first and selling later, and shares these tips for success. If you are adapting and translating some English content, share numbers 9 and 10 with your translator.
1. Don't be afraid of the social internet; embrace it
2. Develop clear goals and objectives upfront
3. Establish a voice and develop guidelines to ensure it is always consistent
4. Ensure that all content provides value to your target audience
5. Don't be afraid to test out different things
6. Make sure content is engaging, stimulating a conversation
7. Create an agile process, including legal approvals
8. Make sure your content is social media-optimized to maximize sharing
9. Avoid using regional Spanish when engaging to national Hispanic audiences
10. Be consistent when using the formal "usted" and informal "tu" forms in Spanish
Image by Toni Castillo under Creative Commons license.
Many Americans know that Thomas Jefferson spoke five languages and could write in several more, but did you know that:
- James Garfield, the 20th president, was not only multilingual, he was also ambidextrous.He could write in Greek with one hand while writing in Latin with the other.
- Dutch-speaker Martin Van Buren was the first president who was born a U.S. citizen (his predecessors had been born British citizens). He is the only president who spoke English as a second language and he spoke Dutch at home with his wife.
- First Lady Elizabeth Monroe spoke only French at home.
- Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou, collaborated on the first English translation of a 16th century work on mining and used both the old Latin and German translated versions as sources.The multilingual Hoovers were said to speak Mandarin in the White House when they didn’t want to be overheard.
When Jackie Kennedy campaigned for her husband’s re-election to the Senate in 1958, she gave speeches in Italian, French, and Spanish to.For JFK’s presidential run in 1960, she recorded a campaign spot for her husband in Spanish.You can see the campaign spot here: www.youtube.com/watch
Are you about to relocate? You can experience culture shock even if you just move to another state, not to mention another country. The "Culture Shock Tool Kit" can help you manage the transition. The book has activities that teach you how to adjust to your new home and is available in English, Spanish, and Russian.
Have you ever experienced culture shock? What advice would you give to someone who's about to move?
Image by karramorro under Creative Commons license.