Marketing with Mansfield

Language “Barrier” is not a Barrier, it’s an Opportunity


The Spanish-speaking population is one of the fastest growing segments in the world, especially in the United States. This community constitutes a huge market segment that shares products, services and culture. In short, this community presents a huge marketing opportunity for the orthotic & prosthetic field…YOU!

According to the American Marketing Association, the definition of marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (AMA) Creating, communicating and delivering offerings of value. What could be more valuable than speaking to your potential customers in their primary language?

Important Materials

If you are a patient care facility, what should you translate? Care and use guides, frequently asked questions (Prosthetic/Orthotic FAQs), not so frequently asked questions but ones that people SHOULD ask, insurance and/or reimbursement instructions and the like are a good start.

If you are a manufacturer – how about providing installation, fabrication and alignment instructions for practitioners and technical staff whose primary language is Spanish?

Here are some important facts regarding the Spanish language:

  1. There are 21 countries whose general population is able to speak Spanish. (Learn Language)
  2. More than 400 million people speak Spanish worldwide. (Trusted Translations)
  3. The United Nations has deemed Spanish to be one of the six official languages. (United Nations) (Why? See #1 and #2.)

So, if you think having a Spanish language site or marketing materials in Spanish is a waste of time and money because your company is “local”, you need to think again. While the majority of Hispanic speakers are concentrated in the top cities in the United States, there has been a significant migration to other areas including: Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, among others.

Translation Tips

Translate marketing materials at an appropriate reading level for the intended reader. Do not write at a doctoral level if the intended reader is not reading at a PhD level. Practice cultural sensitivity as much as possible. Remember Chevrolet’s Nova? Nova means “no go” in Spanish. Not a great name for a car. Make sure you do not run into the same problem with your products, services, website url, etc.

Get local feedback. Assemble an advisory committee that can give you helpful feedback on your efforts. Do NOT rely solely on a website translation program. Remember, you are trying to positively and respectfully communicate with your target markets. If you think “it’s the thought that counts, right” then you need to think again. Offer well-thought-out, correct translations. You do not want to do more harm than good!




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