Posts Tagged ‘Spanish’

img_2424.jpgThat’s right: Facebook is now available in Spanish. At the login screen, there is now a button in the top right corner of the page where you can select English or Spanish as your preferred language.

Facebook describes itself in Spanish as “una herramienta social que te conecta con gente a tu alrededor.” This is a faithful translation of the English description that says, “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.”

Reading the Facebook blog, I found some interesting information on how the creators of the site developed the new page to accurately represent the Spanish language.

In a move reminiscent of Wikipedia, Facebook allowed users to translate parts of copy found on the site and then had users vote on which ones they thought were best through an alternate version of the site.

It then hired professional translators to do the same work, editing and refining the “strings,” as well as developing resources like glossaries and style guides. However, the users completed translating all of the “strings” in under a week.

According to the Facebook blog, “We’ve found that Facebook users are incredibly passionate about finding just the right wording to express Facebook in their own language.”

I must applaud Facebook’s choice to utilize the skills of its users to develop content. As more social media make their services accessible to speakers of other languages, I hope that they will employ similar tactics to get the highest quality results.

Facebook is setting a great example of what will be happening for many companies in the future, and of how to do it right.

More translations are on their way, with the next being French and German.

Freedom As my first official blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to draw from the source of this page’s name: Late last year there was a New York Times Magazine article called “How Do You Say ‘Got Milk’ en Español?” in which the rise of agencies specifically marketing to the growing U.S. Latino community was examined.

According to the article, the Latino consumer can be put into one of three categories: learner, straddler and navigator. These classifications refer to the preferred language of the consumer (Spanish or English), age and level of education, among other characteristics. These classifications say a lot about the consumers, but also comment on the changing nature of communications in the U.S. and how a bilingual approach can be more effective than traditional English language-only campaigns.

The following may come as a shock, but in the U.S. there is no official language. And although English has become the dominant language for the majority of the country, there is a demonstrated need for Spanish-language services in many areas. In Los Angeles, for example, in 2000 46.5 percent of the population was Hispanic, compared to 29.75 percent Caucasian (ERsys).

But what does this have to do with public relations?

Although the article primarily focuses on the use of understanding the stratification of the Latino population as it relates to advertising, there are significant implications for public relations as well, especially if it is part of a comprehensive marketing plan. The important thing to take away is that there is no one Latino consumer; however, there is a clear need to address these consumers in language they can understand, which is often not English.

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng