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Spanish in the U.S.

When looking at the use of the Spanish language in the U.S., the numbers speak for themselves. According to the 2006 Census, the United States now has more than 35 million Spanish speakers, meaning there are more people speaking Spanish in the U.S. than in Venezuela, Chile, or Cuba. In fact, the U.S. currently has the sixth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. The annual growth rate for the Latino community in the U.S. is approaching 4%, more than triple the overall growth rate, and experts say that by the year 2050, more than 25% of the U.S. population will speak Spanish.

These numbers have caused quite a stir, sparking debates on a “national language,” immigration policy, language in schools, and more. Even Presidential candidate Barack Obama has spoken his mind on the subject, stating “Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English. They’ll learn English. You need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.”

Now, what do you do when millions of people in the same country aren’t speaking the same language? Translate of course. Television, magazines, and other media now provide translated versions to reach a greater audience. Businesses like McDonalds and Coca-Cola spend millions on translating and localizing their marketing efforts to reach U.S. Spanish speaking customers. The intention here is not to provoke debate, but rather to point out that translations and translators, both formal and informal, have become the new liaison in the U.S.

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