Is your business speaking in Spanish?
If not, you’re missing out. There’s no getting away from it — Spanish is a linguistic and economic colossus. Its speakers number the hundreds of millions and its importance for business is growing every single day.
We could go on for a very long time extolling all the business virtues of Spanish, but here are some of the biggest reasons why your business should most certainly be translating for Spanish consumers — and how to go about it appropriately.
It’s the world’s second most spoken language.
Imagine shutting yourself off from over 437 million people.
That’s how many people speak Spanish as a native language, according to Ethnologue — the second-highest number of native speakers of any language, ahead of English and behind Mandarin Chinese. This alone hopefully instills the incredible importance of Spanish as a language of business.
Estimates about the global number of Spanish speakers range as high as 572 million, when taking into account those who speak Spanish as a second tongue or as a learned language, according to Instituto Cervantes.
It stands to reason that if you’re doing ecommerce, you’d be a bit loco to overlook this beautiful, historic language. Looking to market your products or services overseas? Spanish is probably one of the best places to look first.
Spanish is a key to The Americas
Let’s try and give an impression of the scale and reach of Spanish — and just how crucial it might be for business.
Spanish (español) is the largest of the Romance languages, a subgroup of languages that includes French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese. In Spain, the language is often referred to as castellano, in reference to the Castile province of Spain, where the language originated. Despite originating from Latin — the language of the Western Roman Empire — Spanish has since become a worldwide language.
The language is a native or official tongue of 20 territories, including Spain (of course!), Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and a number of other Central and South American countries.
The language’s importance in the United States is soaring. Did you know that 13.3% of people in the US speak Spanish at home, according to the US Census Bureau? Despite not being an official language, Spanish is currently spoken as a first language by over 43 million people in the US. By 2050, it’s been reported that the United States could be the world’s largest country by number of Spanish speakers, even ahead of Mexico.
Spanish-speaking communities are growing, and speaking the language puts you in touch with hundreds of millions of consumers. This, in and of itself, is a big reason why it’s such an incredibly important language of business in the world and will continue to be so.
Spanish is an ecommerce ‘gap in the market’ for you and your business.
There’s a real dearth of online content in Spanish on the web. Despite being the second-most natively spoken language in the world, the language only accounts for a measly 4% of online content amongst the top 10 million websites. This presents a big marketing opportunity for businesses.
Content languages for websites
The underrepresentation of Spanish on the world wide web grows more alarming when you consider that the US, with its sizable Spanish-speaking population, has the largest number of Internet users of any country in the world.
Latin America and the Caribbean — a predominantly Spanish-speaking region — holds a respectable share of the world’s Internet users, accounting for 10% of all those online. That’s not to mention that Spain itself has a very engaged, wealthy, online population — to the tune of 42,961,230 Internet users, according to statistics.
Suffice it to say, Spanish is a potential gold mine for online business. Latin America is a strong growth area, with an Internet penetration rate of 69% and user growth rates between 2000 and 2020 of 2,411%.
Share of world Internet users by global region
Share of world Internet users (%)
Latin America / Caribbean
Source: World Internet Users Statistics. Correct as of 20 July 2020.
Although many Latin Americans are Portuguese native speakers, let this underscore the growing importance of Spanish for ecommerce. By having content available in Spanish, your website will be appearing in search engines for a wide range of terms related to your products and services.
Spanish people want to hear about your business — but not in English, usually.
As we have just discussed, there are over 437 million people speaking Spanish as a native language. That’s a lot of people who are online, searching for products and performing transactions in Spanish.
Want your portion of that fast-growing Spanish ecommerce paella? Well, consider that 82% of overseas consumers prefer to buy in their own language.
That’s right — Spanish speakers are much more likely to make a positive purchasing decision if they’re reading their own language. Having a website option available in Spanish will entice those who may not be comfortable transacting in a foreign language to part with their cash.
We’ve written before about how consumers are more likely to spend money if information about products and services is available in their own language. 60 percent rarely or never buy from English-only websites. Let that sink in.
Having only English available limits your selling power to hundreds of millions of people in Europe and The Americas. To do more business with Spanish speakers, you need to start talking their language.
So, ready to take centre stage?
Professional Spanish translations by Alexika — your next steps.
If you’re looking to translate aspects of your website for Spanish audiences, or have a product that might fit into a Spanish-speaking marketplace, you’re in the right place.
At Alexika, we know exactly what it takes to succeed when translating for overseas audiences. We’ve been translating to and from Spanish and all the world’s major business languages since 1998.
If you’re a would-be exporter, it’s very important to consider which part of the Spanish-speaking world you want to target. There are key differences between European and Latin American Spanish — in a not-too-dissimilar way to the differences between English in the US and that in the UK. A lazy translation risks giving the game away, shredding that all-important authenticity factor.
At Alexika, our linguists are native to the region they will be translating for. This allows us to provide an end result that reads completely authentically — as if the translated material had been originally written in the target language.
All of our Spanish translators are fully-qualified, experienced linguists, working into their mother tongue. Your assigned translator will also have a strong grasp of your industry, its terminology and the subject matter they’re working with.
The Spanish-speaking world is waiting to hear from you. If you’re interested, read more about professional Spanish translations by Alexika and get in touch with our in-house team to discuss your Spanish translation requirements.