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What Latinos Look for When Surfing The Web

what latinos look for online

Last updated on April 30th, 2021 at 06:38 pm

Spanish Translation Necessity Growing with Number of Latino Internet Users

Since 2009, the share of Latino adults who report using the internet increased 20 percentage points, up from 64% to 84% in 2015. Over the same period, internet use among whites grew too, though at a slower rate, moving from 80% to 89%. As a result, the gap in internet use between Latinos and whites declined from 16 percentage points in 2009 to 5 percentage points in 2015. Thus, it is now more important than ever to give attention to Spanish content and prioritize Spanish translations of content, so that Spanish language web content is just as readily available as English web content already is.

With stats that indicate growth in this market segment, it is also time to evaluate if it makes sense for your products and services to use Spanish Translation of Marketing and advertising for your online content.


Reaching Unexpected Market Segments Globally

Thanks to the internet, entire hemispheres are now exposed to content they never even imagined. America met Korean singer PSY and discovered more artists from the K-Pop genre, Puerto Rico met Turkish Soap Operas and Japan met Puerto Rican songwriter, rapper and singer Daddy Yankee. This increased interest in foreign content poses both an opportunity and a challenge for companies who wish to increase market share and influence by catering to the Latino market.

The influence of online ads, in terms of their level of effectiveness, is true across platforms: video, display, and search. Among those who recall seeing online ads, 93% of them take action —whether that’s performing a search, visiting a company’s website, or making a purchase.

It has been previously mentioned in other posts in the translation blog, that communication requires the clear transmission of a message from one recipient to another. This holds especially true during the sensitive process of selling. Words are powerful tools easily misconstrued; could you imagine having a person try to buy your new innovative product you just launched a site for, but they only know Spanish? First of all, it is going to turn away customers out of sheer frustration because they cannot navigate through the drop down menus. Even worse for navigation, imagine their frustration when they can’t figure out which button to click, all because it is in a language they do not fully understand!


How Can I Buy if I can’t Understand?

I tried this, myself when I was travelling in Old Montreal two summers ago. My two travelling companions were as confused as I was when attempting to order from a McDonald’s menu. Much to our dismay, it was entirely in French! In my native island of Puerto Rico, our capital city is very tourist friendly, with English translations readily available for almost anything. Our expectations were of a similar experience, and at 1AM our options were few.

 Now my friends and I were all very well versed in both English and Spanish, but the similarities in the languages were not doing us much service. Sure, I knew the words “fromage” and “chaud” but this was not going to tell me if what I was ordering was going to be a familiar favorite or something way off the grid of my taste buds.

I have a personal rule that when travelling, I forbid myself to eat anything I can buy locally and have it taste the same, so I wanted to order something distinct from their menu. However, I didn’t want to make a bad investment into my stomach after so many hours of travel. Throwing caution to the wind, I ordered a sandwich that seemed like a safe choice and was ready to order by pointing and handing money hoping for an honest return of my change. To my surprise the girl at the counter spoke perfect English, making my purchase easy.

Now imagine this same situation but online.  Julia had just returned to Mexico after a Summer visiting family in the US. While on vacation, she was taken to a restaurant where she had the best ribs she ever tasted and left the US wanting more of the sauce they used! She found out that the restaurant had an online store. Julia was an avid online shopper but her English was not at the level needed to understand how to navigate a website she had never seen before.

The owners of the restaurant may have indeed put in a lot of money investing into its web design and the presentation may be impeccable, but they ignored one thing, a Spanish version of the site. Yes the graphic designer made the customer feel like they were in a Texas Rodeo when shopping for BBQ sauce, but everything from the GIFs images, to the buttons, to the animations, all of it was in English. Some websites have chat support for their customers to inquire about services, this is a feature we use on our own site. But imagine if the chat support itself only staffed an English speaker.

The website could have made a new customer in Julia, and a few of her friends if a Spanish Website Translation had been done. As an indication of how prevalent Spanish Language is becoming on-line, even Amazon is launching a Spanish Language version for their US site, as discussed in this article. (


What else do Latinos do Online?

It may be easy to infer thus far that the only types of websites that really need Spanish Translation services are e-Commerce sites, but this is certainly not the case. In fact the entertainment industry is the top category of visited sites amongst Latinos, according to Media Life Magazine.

When looking at specifics, the results gravitated toward Spanish TV Networks, as well as Sports and Music. The next major category reported was beauty and lifestyle which was typically most popular among Latina women.

The biggest facilitator of all this traffic is the ease of access to these sites and content through smartphones, as Latinos are more likely than other Americans to own a smartphone. In fact this survey found that five out of the top ten sites get the majority of their traffic from mobile phones.

It is clear that companies in the fields of Entertainment, Sports and Music have new opportunities by developing Spanish-friendly websites and different types of content translated into Spanish in order to stay relevant in the changing markets both in America and internationally.


What Can I do to Stay Relevant in the Latino Market?

One of the first things a company can do is ensure that their site is fully operational in Spanish as well as English.

Global expansion for small and large businesses alike is obviously facilitated by the internet but the components of a website must be completely accessible to Spanish speakers to reach that market. This means that not only the page’s content, but all buttons, links, images, banners, ads and any other element containing language, must be translated into Spanish.

Now a fiscally conservative company may opt to use an in-house Spanish-speaker to serve as a consultant in such an endeavor. The results of this effort would be as good as that Spanish speaker’s command of their own dialect. One of the strengths of our organization is not just in our own command of the Spanish language in-house but the network of resources that we have available to assist us in localizing content to specific needs.

Localization, is in essence the step beyond translation where we take into consideration not only the language of the country, but the overall dialect of that country in particular. Examples of this in the English language include terms such as “bloke” vs. “dude”, and “color” vs. “colour”. More important differences are the different uses of one word across borders.

Many successful companies employ Spanish Marketing Translation in order to cater effectively to their Latino and Hispanic customer base globally but with local flavor by localizing the content to that country. Not only accommodating for currency, in transactions, but also in the relevance of their Images and cultural references, they are all localized to the country. Larger companies like Yahoo, Nike, Amazon, and Mc Donald’s know this well. They all have a website catering to a specific country providing relevant content to each individual country.  This shows not only a conscientious effort in serving and catering to a customer base, but it honors the uniqueness of each culture. This creates both positive public relations, as well as ease of communication and transactions, resulting in both a happy customer and a healthy bottom line.


Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.