Cultural Nuances in Latin American Countries
Posted October 1, 2012 4:25 pm by Hispanic Market Advisors®

The U.S. is experiencing rapid growth of minority ethnic groups and is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. These changes are creating new segments that are reshaping the way the many industries markets their products and services. To keep up, competing product and service providers must alter their current marketing strategies to accommodate these new segments.

With each Latin American country having its own linguistic and cultural nuances, translation from English to Spanish without understanding the context particular to that country can be misleading. There’s no quicker way to scuttle a potentially lucrative business deal in Latin America and the Caribbean than by completely ignoring the fact that YOU are the stranger in a strange land and the cultural mores recognized in your home town have little or nothing to do with cultural nuances in Latin American countries.

The cultural nuances in Latin American countries are varied. The important issue here is to recognize that “etiquette” in all its forms is different and the many aspects of cultural nuances in Latin American countries are crucial to conducting business successfully. In countries with different traditions and communication norms than those in Western culture simple blunders – no matter innocent – may seem humorous or simply embarrassing – but from a business standpoint it can be highly volatile–and even destroy a business relationship.

Although there are exceptions to every rule, cultural nuances in Latin American countries adhere to some basic premises:

  • Avoid high-pressure sales tactics—they are seen as confrontational.
  • Relationships are viewed as more important than rules.
  • Business is hierarchical—the person with the most authority makes decisions.
  • Hierarchy is important, although not always apparent—defer to the person with the most authority, as they are most likely the decision maker.
  • Bargaining is customary and expected—do not give your best offer at the beginning of negotiations.
  • Expect to spend a great deal of time reviewing details before a contract is drawn up.

Translation from English to Spanish must be accurate and cultural relevant

The cultural nuances of Latin America are a road map of understanding. The Internet has connected us globally, making it easier to learn our differences to improve our social and business transactions. However, with each Latin American country having its own linguistic and cultural nuances, translation from English to Spanish without contemplating the context particular to that country can be misleading and may destroy the business transaction, so understanding Latin American nuances and differences is paramount for successful English to Spanish translations and Hispanic marketing strategy.

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