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I’m so excited to have more of an unfiltered and down-to-earth conversation with you today about a topic that matters to me a lot and that I think should also matter to you.
And that is: The importance of speaking another language WELL. Not just merely knowing what you want to say, but ensuring it comes out perfectly.
As many of you know, in addition to speaking Spanish and English, I also speak French. However, I almost always disclose that I’m quasi-trilingual because I’m not yet 100% fluent in French. I’ve studied it for years but I haven’t submerged myself in it enough to claim I understand it 100% of the time.
Because of this reality, I don’t advertise my skills in the French language, meaning I don’t promote any potential ability to translate anything from English to French or vice versa, I don’t teach French, and I don’t go around telling companies that I can develop any of their marketing for a French-speaking audience.
I know my limitations, after all!
But there are people out there who despite their own limitations and (in my opinion) poor management of a certain language, still go out there and promote their abilities in that language.
I don’t think that’s right.
Unfortunately, this is more widespread than you think and I can identify with it a lot because I see and hear VERY poor Spanish almost everywhere.
Most recently it was during the Democratic debates, when in particular two of the candidates, “Beto” O’Rourke and Cory Booker, made sad and embarrassing attempts at communicating with Spanish speakers.
I was cringing because it was SO bad! And many people hated it, too.
Listen in to hear not just what made their answers so terrible (I got real audio from the debate), but also the common theme to both of them.
If Spanish isn’t your native language, get something checked and fixed, and LEARN to say it properly BEFORE you have to!
Imagine if someone screwed up the English language and used it to try to sell you something. (Below are the funny marketing fails I was referring to in the episode.)
Here are more examples of hilarious yet unfortunate marketing fails/typos. The occasional mistake isn’t so bad. But when companies and people who want something from you start communicating poorly with you, your BS filter rightly goes up, which these entities need to understand.
Si tu compañía quiere empezar a comunicarse con hablantes de otros idiomas, en nuestro caso, aquellos que hablan Español, es vital que consigan gente que lo hable perfectamente. Esta gente puede no solo corregir errores, sino también desarrollar campañas enteras de marketing que tomen ventaja de las idiosincrasias y detalles culturales que aquellos no rodeados por esa cultura quizás no sepan.
Espero que entiendas lo ventajoso que es hablar otra lengua bien, y que también te des cuenta de que si quieres asegurarte que tu contenido en Español es apropiado, por favor pídele a alguien que lo hable expertamente.. que te lo revise.
My goal with this episode was to show you the practical implications of making sure your Spanish is accurate and I hope that came across well. I worked hard on it so I hope you enjoy it :).
It’s important you speak that other language PROPERLY, not just to make your point better, but also so that 1) you don’t come across as pedantic and ignorant, and 2) you can take advantage of all the opportunities that a genuine understanding of another language can yield.
As always, thanks for tuning in to this episode of ADVENTURES IN SPANISH and I’ll catch you next time. Chao!
(The background song heard in the background of my bit in Spanish was “Harvest Festival” by Purple Planet.)