Engaging the Latino Consumer in their Preferred Language

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A frequent question that arises when planning on engaging a Latino consumer is, which language should be used when speaking with the consumer? Communicating with people in their preferred language, when possible, is essential for relationship building. However, communicating with people who do not speak the same language as you can be challenging, but not impossible.
Consider these three steps when engaging in the conversation:

    • It is safe to always start a conversation with a friendly, “Hello, how are you?”
    • Gauge the comfort level of the individual engaging in dialogue.
    • Determine the best language to continue the conversation.

Note: Although teens and children tend to serve as translators for their parents, when possible find an adult who can speak the same language as the consumer.
Use the following sample scenarios as a guide for consumer conversations with varied language abilities.

Scenario One

Consumer: Latino family (Spanish only)

Volunteer/Staff: Limited to NO Spanish speaking ability

Step 1. Greeting the consumer.

Step 2. Gauge response and proceed accordingly.

Step 3. Determine the best language.

  • If consumer has limited English speaking skills, provide literature and point to Spanish literature section.

Engaging-in-Preferred-Language-Scenario-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenario Two

Consumer: Latino family (Preference is speaking in Spanish with some English)

Volunteer/Staff: Some Spanish ability (Preference speaking English)

Step 1. Greeting the consumer.

Step 2. Gauge response and proceed accordingly.

Step 3. Determine the best language.

  • If bilingual, or seem to have a sense of English comprehension, proceed with engaging them in both languages assuring that both you and the consumer are comfortable with the interaction, and—most importantly—they understand the information provided.
  • If they seem to not understand English as well as you initially perceived, proceed in Spanish.
  • Continuously refer to the Spanish literature points and have them follow along to make a Spanish visual connection.

Engaging-in-Preferred-Language-Scenario-2

 

Scenario Three

Consumer: Latino family (Comfortable Speaking Spanish and English)

Volunteer/Staff: English and Spanish Speaker

Step 1. Greeting

Step 2. Gauge response and proceed accordingly.

Step 3. Determine the best language

  • If the consumer is a Spanish speaker, proceed in Spanish and provide literature and commitment card in Spanish.

Engaging-in-Preferred-Language-Scenario-3

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