Gini Dietrich

Social Media In Spanish and English

By: Gini Dietrich | October 28, 2010 | 

It’s the Arment Dietrich Facebook question of the week time…and I’m not sure I have an answer! I know. That NEVER happens! I was JUST telling Justin Brackett’s four year old that I know everything, too.  But Beatriz Mena proved me wrong.

She asks, “What do I do with my social media for both Spanish and English visitors?” My answer is in the video, as well as a little surprise visit at the end, but help Bea out. What do you think??

(If you can’t see the video in your RSS feed, click here and it’ll magically appear!)

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • laineyd7

    Hi Gini! It will be interesting to see what people think about the Spanish/English translation issue. If it’s not already in the language of my choice, I’m not sure I would take the time to translate it. It would be great for the writer to be able to post in two columns, one in Spanish, the other in English. I’m not tech-savvy enough to know a quick way to get that done. People? What do you think?

    Love your dog – he’s so cute!

  • SEOcopy

    Cia Cara Gini… Simple use both. It’s who you are, and if people will stop following you because you speak Spansih, French, Italian, etc. Then it’s okay- Not everyone is going to like you and you will not connect with everyone. That’s the beauty of social media you have a huge pool to choose from. Personally I use three languages on all my feeds. If anything, it has added to my daily conversations and connections. I love the subtitle idea but stay away from the translations they suck… I mean they aren’t very good.

  • Jennifervides

    I’ll say for sure the “translate” button will not/does not work. In fact translation in general won’t work – it’s all about adaptation. Because the languages are so different, the context is often lost in direct translations.

    In terms of content… there are certain things that I say in Spanish because they “just sound better” that way. There are certain topics that “talk” to me more in Spanish than they do in English, and the other way around.

    Specific to the situation, I’d say that if Spanglish is working then stick with it. This is one of the biggest issues that Hispanic marketers are facing…they are confused by Latinos (like me) who are fluent in English yet very strongly relate to their Hispanic heritage. Do they market to us as Hispanics or as part of the General market? (I wrote about this on my blog very recently.) In Hispanic social media, Spanglish is the “correct” language because the U.S. Hispanics using social media largely are acculturated and speak English fluently.

    My recommendation: if the blog post is “inspired” in Spanish…write it in Spanish and vice versa. You could also do as Mama Latina Tips ( does and write each post in both languages.

    As for video…subtitles is actually a good option. And as noted before.. if the content of the video is “better shared” in Spanish then create the video in Spanish with English subtitles and vice versa.

    Anyway, my two cents. Hope it helps!

  • Hi! I am aware this must be a problem for a lot of us. As part of a multilingual community as Global Voices is ( ) , we try to solve this with our very little efforts by translating interesting posts and opinions from bloggers all over the world. Not all of my friends comment on my spanish posts, some of them do it on my english-translated posts, but.. many of them “like” the musical latin videos I put on facebook. That makes me think 2 things, the universal power of music, and the need of, as Jennifervides says, subtitling videos. That’s a weakness we have as a community, there are a lot of good videos in spanish (not only musical of course) but they fail to reach a broader public for the language issue. Any subtitler volunteer here?

    Oh, and personally, I definitely not stick for one language, and I’d really like to write on more than 2 🙂

    Greetings from Lima, Perú.

  • ginidietrich

    @Juan_Arellano Is it a lot of work to write in more than one language? Also, tell us more about Global Voices. How does it work and how can a blogger join?

  • ginidietrich

    @Jennifervides Do you watch Modern Family? Last night, Gloria said, “I spit in your face and blow wind at your back.” Huh? She said, “It sounds beautiful in Spanish.”

  • ginidietrich

    @SEOcopy LOL! You can say translations suck because, after all, you ARE on Spin Sucks.

  • ginidietrich

    @laineyd7 Thanks! I love that stupid dog. More than a human being should love an animal!

  • Jennifervides

    @GiniDietrich LOL!!! No I don’t watch it but yes, exactly what I’m talking about. Similar to when my mother’s Texas accent comes out when she talks about horses. It’s all about context.

  • Jennifervides

    @GiniDietrich @SEOcopy Yes, Spin sucks, translations suck…

  • @GiniDietrich
    If you’re fluent in those languages I don’t think there will be a problem, but it can be a hard work keep posting in 2 languages, overall when u are already thinking in a new post, and they are looong posts 🙂

    Global Voices is based on volunteering, we are a community of volunteers authors and translators that collaborate in bringing to a broader audience what a blogger in Kenya, Thailand or Bolivia may be telling to his local net, but may also be of global interest. As u can see we emphasize on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media, voices from the undeveloped world. We have almost an author for every country, so, anyone interested on joining, can write to his country’s author from the author’s contact form in our web.

  • thesmartpms

    As mention in other comments, the context may be a good point to consider. There are things that sound better in Spanish or English.
    People born in Latin American and living in the US may be more used to watching videos with sub-titles because foreign movies shown in their countries include subtitles. Sub-titles are not “literally translated” but adjusted to the country’s context.
    I am currently authoring and co-authoring articles about program/project management in both Spanish and English. The articles had capture an international audience and I am able to address topics of interest for both Spanish and English speaking audiences. I also started the blog where I share my experience on projects working with multi-cultural teams.

  • ginidietrich

    @thesmartpms This is great dvice and a new blog for us to read, too. Thank you!!

  • ginidietrich

    @thesmartpms Or advice. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @Juan_Arellano What a great project Global Voices is – thanks for sharing it! I’ll be sure to have everyone check it out.

  • NicWirtz

    Consistency is key on any communication platform so first I’d ensure that whatever language someone communicates with you in, you reply in that language. If the tweet/Facebook post etc is interesting feel free to then translate that into one or more languages.

    I love projects such as Global Voices, automatic online translators can do a decent job of translation if the post stays in one tense. Once you start using different tenses and other grammatical tricks, they are stumped and you lose any sense you started with. As a general rule if it’s a good enough post to translate, don’t do so with an online translator.

    As for the blog, if you’re reaching both Spanish and English speaking markets, do the work and translate. It’s double the work, you need to create two pages for each post and you need to find translation plug ins/flags to notify which page is which but this is the only way to authentically reach both. You could do most of the translation in your weaker language then get someone to tidy it up.

    I spent over three years as the Spanish editor of an English sports site, using a combination of Google/Alta Vista translator, rudimentary basics of Spanish and an ever increasingly useful girlfriend, now wife.

    We’re now working on a number of bilingual projects in Central America.

  • balemar

    I have got to agree with @NicWirtz ! It means a lot more work on your part, but if you want a certain posts available for both parties then you should take the time to translate it. For just organization purposes, I’d divide your site into different languages. If you’re using WordPress, make special parent categories for each language then have your usual categories underneath. It’ll be easier for you AND your readers to keep track of. I would then display that option prominently on your site.

    As far as Facebook and Twitter are concerned, answering people in their respective language is of course a no brainer. What’s harder to determine is what language should you post in! Before you post, consider whether your post is relevant to each language. Only post in the languages that would be relevant. If you feel multiple parties would benefit, take the time to translate and post in each language. Don’t fear this type of repetition.

    Yes, it’s a lot more work, but in the long run you make sure your content is relevant to your readers, accessible to who needs it and doesn’t alienate anyone.

  • ginidietrich

    @balemar How did I gain so many friends name Beatriz?! You. @beamena. Alright. Just two of you. But still.

    This is SUPER helpful, especially the part about having parent categories for each language. You’re so smart!

  • balemar

    @GiniDietrich Just you wait until she and I meet up later this month! It’ll be Bea^2 time! 🙂

    Glad I could help! It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time too!

  • ginidietrich

    @balemar Whaaaaaat?! I wanna come!

  • AndresMontenegroT

    well… we need translate english to spanish professional services for this situations…
    i mean… something affordable…


    Translators tools as the one that Google offers for FREE it is very accurate but not 100% effective, perhaps hiring a company that can translate may cost some money, I think a good way to understand a different languaje is just by learning. http//

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