Language and Cultural Barriers in Health Services

Although  this subject veers off a little from my market, I do find it important to discuss it here too.  It is quite a sensitive issue because if there is a time that you need truly be understood is in an emergency or  in a health scare and  because it is often the poor,uninsured and  largely Hispanic population that suffer the most with this  issue.  It is usually the patient’s  family members or even children – usually minor children- that interpret for the adult with very limited proficiency themselves.  Therefore many go untreated and just see a doctor when the situation gets critical.  These facilities themselves are not staffed with professional interpreters that could help in the communication process and when they do  the miscommunication makes matters even worse.

On a Lighter Side… Translating Jokes..(Pepito is Bilingual Too!)


No comments

It’s Friday and wanted to relax a bit!

The teacher told Pepito to use these words in a sentence.

> 1. *Cheese*
> Pepito replies: Maria likes me, but cheese fat.
> 2. *Mushroom*
> When all my family get in the car, there’s not mushroom.
> 3. *Shoulder*
> My fren wanted 2 become a citizen but she didn’t know how to read so I
> shoulder.
> 4. * Texas *
> My fren always Texas me when I’m not home wondering where I’m at!
> 5. *Herpes*
> Me and my fren ordered pizza. I got mine piece and she got herpes.
> 6. *July*
> Ju told me ju were going to tha store and July to me! Julyer!
> 7. *Rectum*
> I had 2 cars but my wife rectum!
> 8. *Chicken*
> I was going to go to the store with my wife but chicken go herself.
> 9. *Wheelchair*
> We only have one enchilada left, but don’t worry wheelchair
> 10. *Chicken* *wing*
> My wife plays the lottery so chicken wing.
> 11. *Harassment*
> My wife caught me in bed with another women and I told her honey
> harassment nothing to me.
> 12. *Bishop*
> My wife fell down the stair so I had to pick the bishop.
> 13. *Body wash*
> I want to go to the club but no body wash my kids.
> 14. *Budweiser*
> That women over there has a nice body, budweiser face so ugly?

Continue reading “On a Lighter Side… Translating Jokes..(Pepito is Bilingual Too!)”

Translating Taglines

Such is the case  of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign  and the “Got Milk” commercials. In the last example the literal translation into Spanish would send a completely different message and a quite offensive one,  and therefore the translated tagline is Toma Leche. (Drink Milk).  There are countless examples of how many of these taglines  do not only get butchered but truly get lost in the translation process and for those there are plenty of blog posts on that subject.  It is then that companies decide to stick to the original and only translated the copy of the ad alone.

Continue reading “Translating Taglines”

In The Political Landscape There is No Single Formula For Hispanics

The diversity of the Latino population is never more prevalent when it comes to social and political issues most notably in this election year. Just the way we  target them and market to them culturally, they are equally as diverse politically.  Because the circumstances that  brought them here and the issues that affect them politically and otherwise are so diverse, that grouping them together  and their  political preference will depend on which group you ask. As a whole, Hispanics  always tended to vote Democratic, yet to a Cuban American they tend to veer more for the Republican ticket.    In a study done by the Pew Hispanic Center it was revealed that  although Obama had accelerated deportations more than other president , they[ Latino registered voters] still highly favor Obama to Romney by  63 % compared to 23% . The awareness of the deportation  issue is more prevalent among foreign born Hispanics. Yet, because of other social and political issues, Latinos tend to strongly favor the Democratic party.  Also, with Obama temporary  halting the deportation process under the “Dream Act”   which according to the same study is favored by 91% of Latinos as a path to citizenship.   However, in a recent  Gallup poll it was estimated that 51% of Latinos  have become independent voters and with  both candidates are targeting that percentage of voters, they are doing so by targeting the  issues that generally is a common ground to all : jobs, economy and healthcare.

Added to the mix is that these differences of opinions among the Latin groups themselves which  tend to get heated particularly on the issue of immigration. Here is South Florida, with a large concentration of Hispanics and having one dominant Cuban- American  group with its opposing and more conservative beliefs usually clashes with the other more Democratic leaning Hispanics.   On the other hand, the other Latino groups residing in Florida, which are  Latinos of Central and South American that resent the favoritism of  the Cuban immigration status  and therefore  are more likely to favor the policies on legal immigration such as the Dream Act.

Finally, although both parties and candidates have steered away from this issue, Obama because of his long record of deportations  and Romney because of his earlier stand in the debates on the issue will soon have to change course if they want to re get the Spanish vote.  Obama’s announcement to halt deportations of young adults brought to the US  as children could bring up another round of ads  aimed at Hispanic voters.



How to Reach the Hispanic Market.

When you are trying to reach one of the fastest growing groups in the US and  one with a growing purchasing power that will near 1.5 trillion by 2015, the Hispanic population cannot be blanketed together but rather targeted  and catered  to as a “group within  a group”.  The only similarities that  binds these groups together are  language and family. For this reason, even with the commonality of language there are  cultural differences in language  that can make some references offensive or  even misunderstood. In a Nielsen study on Hispanic consumer behavior, The Hispanic Market Imperative ,  the growing Hispanic population although acculturating to the  American lifestyle, are  not  assimilating to it. Given that large part of this Latino population is young and fully bilingual, they still find it important to keep the  link to their culture and heritage.  For this reason, cultural relevancy is  of prime importance to this group. Furthermore, the study also found that Hispanics tend to  respond to ads  that are  not  only culturally relevant but also  speak their language and  target their need, a factor  particularly important when you are writing  marketing copy targeted  to  specific individual tastes and cultures.  These differences may seem simple yet they could not be farther from the truth.  As you read in a later post, when you translate taglines for example, the meaning not only gets ‘lost in translation” their result may be truly disastrous. The added value then as a translator would not only be bilingual  but also bicultural in order to grasp  the nuances of the language  the cultural relevance needed to  bring the message across. (Even bicultural these practices are a truly difficult task).  Although  marketers are taking note of  this idea, it still  does not resonate  with many and still  tend to  use the one size fits all approach. Yet there have been other advertisements  that are prime examples  of Hispanic Branding that I have included in a future post of the same name.

Continue reading “How to Reach the Hispanic Market.”