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Spanish in today's workforce, the importance of bilingual communication:

Today the Spanish speaking populations makes up fourteen percent of our society - fourteen percent! That's huge! Whether from a marketing, a political, or a general public perspective that is a large percent of people in our little Northern America who speak Spanish. It's true, there is no official language of the United States of America, but come on, a little common courtesy would say pick up the language of the country your living in. However, that's not how it is. And as it is, we have to cater to it.

As long as you're going to cater to it, go all the way. You have to know that Spanish speaking does not necessarily, Mexican. In America there are Spanish speakers that come from many different Spanish countries; we have Brazilians, Mexicans, Chileans, Argentines, Spanish, as well as many others. This is important to know because not all Spanish countries have the same culture; in fact many of the Spanish cultures are very different. Just as you wouldn't fly a British flag on Independence Day just because we speak a common language, be careful when catering to your Spanish speaking customers not to offend them in the same manner.

For example, a car company wanting to bring in more business from the Mexican community decided to have a day for the Mexicans in their community. They had many "Mexican" festivities, including flamingo dancer. In the end they ended up offending many because some of their festivities represented different countries - Flamingo dancers are from Spain. Make sure your employees do not treat all Spanish speaking customers as if they are from the same country.

Employees - it is important to hire employees who speak both Spanish and English. Because fourteen percent of our society is Spanish speaking, the likely hood of your getting a number of Spanish only speaking customers if very high. It would be wise if you could communicate with them when they come to buy your product, especially if you sale something like cars - where communication is necessary.

I had one friend who was a bank manager. He was responsible for the branch he worked at, which in those responsibilities was included hiring. He had two young ladies who spoke both Spanish and English. However, if this young man was working and someone approached him and asked if he spoke Spanish - rather than point them to the employees who did speak Spanish - he would ask if they could read the sign. If they responded yes he would say, "Then you'll notice it's in English. We're in America, we speak English." Because this man was the manager there was no one to tell him to do anything different, and amazingly he never got into any trouble, but I site the example only to say that not only do you need to hire bilingual employees - but also you need to make sure they are willing to work with Spanish speaking customers in Spanish.

It has said that speaking Spanish in America (globally we can see the importance) is becoming more and more important in call centers and in banking. Anyone, anywhere, is going to need help from customer service at some point in time, whatever the customer service is customer service of. Because such a high percentage of our society speaks Spanish it is extremely important that customer services, and all call centers hire bilingual employees. It has been stated that in some centers if you are bilingual you will get paid fifty cents to the dollar more than our English only speaking employees.

Banks obviously are going to need Spanish speaking employees as a lot of Spanish speaking people have moved to America to take advantage of the economy here and will need to use of the banks, even if it's to wire the money home to their own country.

The rate of Spanish speakers in America is growing rapidly and will only continue to grow, as a business it will be extremely valuable to have bilingual employees.


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Posted by DF
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