If You’re Hispanic and You Know It Say ‘Olé!’
The country as a whole is becoming more and more friendly to the many cultures that live within it. I mean racism is still alive and well, in many different forms. But the hardships once faced by Spanish-speaking Americans is not the same as it used to be.
For one thing, learning English is highly available in most public schools (although a lot is still to be desired from some poorer public schools) and most people can get by with broken English. Heck, I know people with English as their first language who still can’t speak it well.
Secondly, a lot of businesses are starting to hire people who are bilingual (especially if Spanish is one of the two languages) so they don’t have to turn away their Spanish-speaking customers. The biggest obstacle I can see is whether or not the business has a menu system on the phone that directs you to a Spanish-speaking operator. Also, in person, they need to train their non-Spanish-speaking employees to say “Hold on while I get someone who speaks Spanish” in Spanish. Or maybe just “Uno momento por favor.”
Hotels.com, a business I didn’t even think about benefiting from adding a Spanish website, has done so! Their new site, Hotels.com en espanol, allows specifically United States-based Spanish-speaking customers to find ofertas de hoteles in whichever language they are most comfortable with. Visitors can also find hotels that are bilingual, so they know what to expect when they visit that hotel. After all, when you go on vacation, you should be able to relax and enjoy it, not suffer from frustration just trying to travel like everyone else.
I do wonder at this announcement whether or not other hotel and travel websites are racist. For years now, most businesses’ websites have multilingual versions, and either hire or train people with language skills to diversify their customer base. While one language in the world would be nice, or at least one common one we all share in addition to our local languages, I think different languages give flavor to life and make things interesting. Just my opinion.