March 12, 2005

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Over thirty–five years ago, responding to the growing demands for recognition by many Hispanic organizations, a Joint Resolution was approved on September 17, 1968 by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 90th Congress.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is hereby authorized and requested to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as "National Hispanic Heritage Week"

The time period was selected to tie in with the celebrations of Mexican Independence Day and other Latin American Independence Day celebrations commemorated in our country during September 15 and 16.

Twenty years after the first resolution was passed, congress expanded Hispanic Heritage Week to Hispanic Heritage Month on August 17, 1988.

Latinos at 03:51 PM

March 04, 2005

Centro Empresarial Hispano de HP

Houston, TX--(HISPANIC PR ) En su primer Evento de Prensa dedicado a la cobertura del mercado de Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas Hispanas, HP estrenó la primera serie de entrenamientos en Internet destinada a mejorar el desempeño de pequeñas y medianas empresas Hispanas en los Estados Unidos mediante el uso de tecnología.

El Evento de Prensa reunirá a editores de tecnología y de negocios de medios Hispanos con ejecutivos y clientes de HP para conversar acerca de las crecientes oportunidades de las Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas Hispanas de los Estados Unidos (PyMEs). Durante el día HP se enfocará en destacar la amplitud y profundidad de su portafolio de soluciones Smart Office (Oficina Inteligente), que le proporciona a las PyMEs experticia local y especializada, servicios y apoyo además de productos y soluciones confiables.

La nueva serie de capacitación, llamada Centro Empresarial Hispano de HP, amplía las soluciones Smart Office para PyMEs Hispanas al proporcionar acceso a los conocimientos que los empresarios Hispanos necesitan para acelerar su comprensión de la tecnología para hacer crecer sus negocios... en el lenguaje de su preferencia.

Desarrollado sobre las bases del sitio web de HP en español para pequeñas y medianas empresas (http://www.hp.com/go/hispanic) que fue lanzado en Octubre, el Centro Empresarial Hispano de HP guía a los participantes en una serie de clases individuales de auto estudio cubriendo los siguientes tópicos:

-- Mercadeo a la medida: cree materiales de mercadeo de alto impacto a bajo costo.

-- Desarrollo de sitios web: cause la mejor impresión en Internet;

-- Negocios sin papeles: cámbiese a un PC de bolsillo;

-- Presentaciones impactantes: déle vida a sus presentaciones en Microsoft PowerPoint;

-- El arte de networking: saque provecho de sus relaciones personales y beneficie su negocio

-- Incremento de la productividad con Microsoft Office: plantillas para el éxito.

Según análisis de HP, el mercado Hispano de los Estados Unidos va a crecer dramáticamente del número actual de 2 millones de empresas a 10 millones para el año 2010, con más de la mitad de estas empresas esperando invertir más en tecnología en el 2005 de lo que invirtieron el año pasado.

"En HP, notamos la intersección de dos tendencias importantes en los EE.UU: el crecimiento de la población Hispana, y el continuo crecimiento del mercado de pequeñas y medianas empresas. Esto alimenta el auge de las pequeñas y medianas empresas Hispanas en el país," comenta Dense Marcillo, Gerente General de Soluciones HP para Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas Hispanas y de Propiedad Femenina en Estados Unidos.

"Satisfacer las necesidades de estas empresas Hispanas es parte integral de la visión de HP," continúa Marcilio. "Existen cientos de miles de clientes Hispanos con pequeñas y medianas empresas que utilizan las soluciones HP Smart Office. La experiencia de HP en apoyar y suministrar soluciones para esta comunidad estratégica de empresas en rápido crecimiento no tiene comparación."

Durante el evento, empresarios Hispanos ofrecerán información detallada sobre el uso de la tecnología para solventar los retos que surgen en sus empresas y lo que ellos exigen de un proveedor de tecnología de información (TI).

Carlos Posso, gerente de sistemas de información de Intermex - Transferencias electrónicas, empresa de rápido crecimiento domiciliada en Miami y dedicada a la transferencia bancaria electrónica, cree que la elección del socio adecuado de TI es determinante para el éxito de su empresa.

"El mayor reto empresarial de Intermex consiste en estar al día con la tecnología necesaria para suministrar a más de 1.400 organizaciones de los Estados Unidos acceso diario a nuestros servicios electrónicos. Utilizamos toda herramienta técnica que esté a nuestra disposición para estar en igualdad de condiciones respecto a la competencia, para lo cual necesitamos un socio de TI que nos ayude", afirma Posso. "HP ofrece soluciones confiables y comprobadas que causan un impacto positivo a nuestra compañía, y, además, es un excelente socio. Las nuevas herramientas de capacitación, introducidas hoy al mercado, resaltan que la compañía comprende claramente cómo son y qué necesitan las pequeñas y medianas empresas en EE.UU. Es fácil entender por qué Intermex se siente seguro en cuanto a escoger las soluciones HP Smart Office".

El nuevo Centro Empresarial Hispano de HP está disponible sin costo como parte del sitio web de HP en español para pequeñas y medianas empresas en la dirección http://www.hp.com/go/hispanic

Latinos at 07:36 PM

January 31, 2005

Today’s New Mainstream "Spanglish"

Suzanne Irizarry de López - Today’s New Mainstream

Host Robert MacNeil of the PBS "Do You Speak American?" special, realized after interviewing Americans across the US, that the American language is always changing. Laura Urbani wrote for the Tribune-Review: “Spanglish, a combination of Spanish and American English; Black English, popularly known as Ebonics; [and] Chicano are dialects that have been confirmed as part of a cultural identity and recognized as a natural part of American society.”

However, millions of American consumers’ views and opinions are still being typically misunderstood or discounted. For instance, picture that chunk being 49% of a population larger than Canada’s. At least 20 million Spanish speaking Americans are been excluded from mainstream marketing and communication strategies, in spite of their everyday consumption of mainstream media and participation in mainstream consumerism.

Imagine the discrepancy: On one hand, presidential candidates believe there are enough Spanish speaking voters, enough to make a difference, to spend millions in Spanish language ads. On the other hand, pollsters poll in English…and claim the results to be representative of American voters?

The proliferation and further sophistication of Spanish TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and internet media validates and further feeds the growing co-existence of Spanish with English. This is the year, where Spanish was introduced into a Senatorial inaugural speech, and, while throwing off the stenographer, was understood by more Americans than the sum of the populations of several countries put together.

Sooner than later, Spanish will pass from being associated with a foreign language option at school and an immigrant language, into being just one of the two languages most widely used in the US. It is not for no reason that the USA is ranked number 5, in the world, among the countries where Spanish is spoken.

Spanish is slowly asserting its place in the USA as a native and all-American language. Spanish was the first European language spoken in the US, since the late 15th century. Particularly, in Southern and Western states, most of whose names are still in Spanish. It is the language many Americans are and have been learning “natively” from birth, and it is an official language, next to English, in New Mexico and Puerto Rico (Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico are US natives, as the US Census accurately defines).

It is time to re-evaluate “the way we do market research and polling in the US”. General market research = English language surveys versus Hispanic research = Spanish language surveys, is a thing of the past.

The traditional English only survey method no longer represents the US American general market opinion. Think of it, randomly selected samples do no good if interviewers can’t communicate with a significant segment of that sample. Furthermore, for the sake of good survey practice, it is unacceptable to have a large segment of American Spanish speaking respondents be rudely terminated because interviewers do not know how to politely hang up the phone, or put them on hold if transferring the call to a Spanish speaker, for lack of basic Spanish phone call vocabulary.

What happens when the interviewer only speaks English and the person on the other line only speaks Spanish? In most cases the call is terminated, labeled LB (language barrier) or put back in queue to be reassigned to a Spanish speaker. The problem with this data gathering method is that, statistically speaking, callers will not answer the phone the second time around thereby further reducing the Hispanic sample size for the poll. You can begin to see the weakness in referring to such survey as indicative of a 'national representative sample’.

Another typical situation is for English-only interviewers to force a Spanish dominant person to complete the survey in English. Imagine the likelihood for the interviewer to misunderstand what the respondent expressed and, likewise, for the respondent to misinterpret what the interviewer is asking.

What if the survey or poll is being conducted in a US region known for having a majority Hispanic population, such as Southern California (or Miami, Southern Texas, New York City, etc)? You would observe at least 30% of the sample being flagged as a non-response due to language barrier! Is that representative? How valid can the results be if the supposedly representative survey misses a third of the opinions!?

Utilizing bilingual interviewers who are native speakers of English and native speakers of Spanish, is a way to streamline costs and efforts and capture content more accurately, and in a more realistic language-segment proportion.

Needless to say, you get a much higher response rate when the respondent can converse in the language of choice, even if that is Spanglish, a natural by-product of cultural fusion. In a telephone survey situation, if the interviewers are fully fluent in both languages, a bilingual respondent has the opportunity of saying those things that have no exact translation into English, in Spanish, and vice versa. Therefore, allowing for more accurate responses and added cultural nuance depth that would otherwise be lost in English monolingual surveys.

Interviewers are not the only ones that need to be bilingual. The hiring staff must be fully bi-lingual. How else can the research company know their interviewers are performing and understanding truly fluently in both languages! Furthermore, it is crucial that Spanish interviews be monitored as stringently as are English interviews. Bilingual supervisors can monitor interviews and interviewers, as it falls, which one minute may be in English and the next minute in Spanish.

Bilingual telephone interviewing capabilities make it possible to integrate Hispanic research within General Market research, therefore not only saving time and money but helping to capture the opinions and insights of English and Spanish speakers as it naturally occurs in today’s American demographic.

“Tapar el cielo con la mano”, a popular Spanish saying that means covering the sky with one hand, or sticking your head in the ground like an ostrich, doesn’t mean reality will cease to exist. And reality is that Spanish is a way to “speak American”, that has deep socio-historical roots in American society.

About the author: Suzanne Irizarry de López is board member of the Hispanic Marketing and Communication Association and Director of Business Development for Eastern Research Services. Questions to suzanne@easternresearch.com

Latinos at 11:11 AM