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Speaking Spanish and Business

Nov 10, 2017 by

There are over 37 million people speak Spanish in the United States, making it easily the second-most spoken language in the country. By 2065, people of Latinx descent will make up nearly one-quarter of our country’s population. Many businesses have signs that say “si habla español” outside of them, which means “Spanish is spoken here.” It’s a smart move–these businesses know their target customer base, and they are making themselves more and more accessible.

On a local level, having someone on your staff who is fluent in Spanish will open the door to a whole new customer base, especially in parts of the country where the Latinx community is large. You will make your service more appealing than the competition if you can easily communicate with this sizeable population. On a less mercenary level, being able to communicate bilingually could make potentially marginalized people feel safer and more respected. If you’re a doctor, your patients with apnea del sueño need treatment just as much as your patients with sleep apnea (they’re the same thing). If you’re an insurance agent, you want to make sure that any claims your insured clients make are communicated clearly.

On an international level, having a Spanish speaker within the business will help with global transactions. Latin American companies are our most valuable trading partners. If your company is quite large or looking to expand, you may want several people with multilingual capabilities on hand. UNESCO says it’s important for global businesses to know French, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, German, and Japanese! It is one of the five most used languages within the EU. Even if you’re not expanding internationally, if you think your company may grow over time, you will want to have one or more people on staff who speak Spanish. If you’re in a business that has a large customer-service component, having Spanish speakers on staff will be essential. The customer-service sector (banking, retail, and telecommunications) is the largest area that requires bilingual employees.

Even if you’re not running your own business, bilinguality will make you a much more competitive candidate. International banks and financial institutions often give their Spanish-speaking staff better assignments and raises. These employees are essential, because they can communicate across countries and travel with relative ease. Even though English is widely spoken around the world, you’ll just be more comfortable working with a Spanish-speaking population if you know the language, and you’ll also show the culture more respect this way. Executive jobs also are starting to require Spanish speakers, especially in marketing, sales, general management, and even up at the tippy-top with CEOs. So if you want to climb the corporate ladder, you’ll want to make sure your language skills are polished.

Speaking Spanish in the workplace has other benefits. By communicating in more than one language, you are constantly exercising your brain. People who speak more than one language have better problem-solving skills and are more slowly affected by diseases such as Dementia!

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