There’s no question that Spanish is an important language in the United States. But what is the long-term outlook? Languages like Italian and German were once widely spoken in the U.S., but as the years passed, later generations had forgotten the languages of their grandparents and great grandparents. So before you translate your website from English to Spanish, you want to know, will Spanish taken a similar turn? Are younger generations of Hispanics in the U.S. turning to English? Or is the opposite the case: Will Spanish one day surpass English as the most spoken language in the country? Bottom line, is a Spanish-language marketing initiative worth the investment?
Before we get to the fundamental question of is a Spanish-language strategy worth the investment (yes is the answer by the way), let’s put the status of Spanish in the U.S. into context.
Spanish has been spoken in what is today the United States basically ever since there has been a European presence in the Western Hemisphere. Spain once controlled parts of North America as far up as Alaska. Many parts of what are now Texas, California, Arizona, Florida and New Mexico were once part of Spain’s American colonies and/or later part of an independent Mexico.
There are a sizable number of people in the United States who speak Spanish because their families have been speaking Spanish before the United States existed in their area. However, the majority of Spanish speakers in the U.S. are the descendants of relatively recent immigrants or they are immigrants themselves.
Spanish is by far the most widely spoken language after English. Cities like Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Chicago are home to over one million Spanish speakers each. Even more rural states like Nebraska have a considerable number of Spanish speakers. In fact, Nebraska has its own dedicated radio, television and print media outlets in Spanish, exclusively serving the local Hispanic market.
Spanish in the United States isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the nation’s second most spoken language after English will become even more important. Can your organization afford to not reach this growing demographic?
The Spanish language is central to Hispanic culture and identity in the U.S., which is precisely why a Spanish language content strategy is much more than breaking a language barrier. Regardless of English language fluency, a Pew Research report found that almost 90 percent of Latinos in the United States feel it is important for future generations to speak Spanish.
The personal connection to Spanish runs deep. The same Pew study found that 90% of Latino adults in the U.S. grew up with Spanish in their household and that almost that same number said that their parents actively encouraged them to speak Spanish.
Spanish will continue to be an extremely important language in the U.S. for generations to come. The role of Spanish in U.S. Hispanic culture is a profound and indispensable part of their cultural identity. Integrating Spanish into your marketing and communications will help make your message culturally and linguistically relevant to millions of people in the U.S., and even more around the globe. Press 2 can help you find the right approach for your goals. Contact us now for a free consultation.