Spanish, Professionally Speaking: Communicating Effectively in the Hispanic Business World

2011-2012 Issue 1

Spanish is making major inroads into Quebec-based businesses. Economic realities like the North American Free Trade Agreement, expanding multinationals, and Montreal-based international organizations like ICAO mean that more and more Montrealers are required to communicate in Spanish with business people in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.

While many people may have some Spanish under their belts from undergraduate studies, according to Heberto Fernández of Translation & Written
Communication, it’s probably not sufficient for current linguistic and economic realities: “We frequently see that while many people have a good grasp of the general language and Hispanic literature, they lack the specialized lexicons and cultural knowledge to be truly effective in the Hispanic business world in areas like administration, business communication and public relations.”

Fernández and his fellow instructors have thus tailored the new Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication (Spanish) to helping business people succeed in Spanish-speaking milieus. “This program will accelerate students’ ability to express themselves properly, both orally and in writing, in specific Hispanic contexts. To do that, we get right into the culture behind the language, and this is a big part of being effective – to know how to function in Spanish in a modern professional environment. That’s not something you’re likely going to learn on the job.”

As well as taking the new program’s core professional language and communication courses, students choose two complementary courses in areas such as Hispanic Organizational Culture, Advanced Précis- writing and Text Revision. Fernández says that the majorit y of students should normally complete the diploma in two years, though the benefits will be apparent from the outset: “We definitely focus on lexicon- and skill-building so that the students will be able to use Spanish in their day-to-day working life right away.”

For more information, contact the Translation & Written Communication unit: www.mcgill.ca/conted/acad/translation

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