With more than 41 million speakers in the United States of America, Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language today. It is also the fastest-growing and most widely taught second language all over the United States.
As the usage of Spanish is growing a number of mainstream American retailers now advertise bilingually in Spanish-speaking areas and offer bilingual, English-Spanish customer services. From magazines to music, Spanish-language media in the U.S have exploded. Walt Disney World launched a Spanish-language Web site for Hispanics. Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently launched a Spanish version to their website. The U.S. government is taking Spanish very seriously as even The State of the Union Address and other presidential speeches are translated to Spanish and federal agencies such as the United States Postal Service translate information into Spanish.
Even individual states take translating material seriously:
CALIFORNIA: All laws, decrees, regulations, and provisions are published in English and Spanish.
NEW MEXICO: New Mexico’s laws are promulgated bilingually in Spanish and English. Although English is the state government’s paper working language, much of the daily business of the government is conducted in Spanish, particularly at the local level.
TEXAS: In Texas, although English is used in government, the continual influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants increased the import of Spanish in Texas. State agencies, for example, must provide information on their websites in Spanish to assist residents who have limited English proficiency.
However, the story of the Spanish language in the U.S. is still unfolding and the question remains on whether it will follow the same pattern of decline in use as other non-English languages, such as Italian, German or Polish. However, today’s young Hispanics are more likely than their parents to say they hear messages about the importance of speaking Spanish. It is thus important to be aware of this growing market and use above mentioned states as reference to include bilingual texts if your business wants to grow by opening doors to the Spanish market in the United States.