Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hola, Amigos

In 2006, the United States became the third nation in history to reach a population figure of 300 million (China and India got there first). The spectacular growth of the Hispanic population was certainly a factor in achieving this milestone.

With a 3.4 percent increase between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in America.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau News, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S., with 44.3 million on July 1, 2006 — 14.8 percent of the total population. By comparison, the second-largest minority group is Black Americans, totaling 40.2 million in 2006.

Considering those statistics, there were a couple of interesting items in the news this week.

First, Morningstar reported that, during the third quarter of this year, the Spanish-speaking Univision Network out-delivered CBS, ABC and the CW to rank as the #3 network in the country in primetime among all adults 18-34 according to Nielsen’s Media Research.

Here's how the stations ranked for that all-important 18-to-34 demographic:

6 CW

In addition, Monday's Miami Herald had an interesting article titled "Publishers, Bookstores Offer More in Translation."

The story reported, "...the 2000 census and its revelations about the fast-growing Hispanic population sparked renewed interest among U.S. publishing houses in meeting the reading needs of Spanish-speakers. Many who had tried -- unsuccessfully -- to market books in Spanish in the 1990s supercharged their plans."

The release of the Spanish language edition of the thriller The Da Vinci Code accelerated publishers' interest in providing Spanish books.

"While successful Spanish-language titles in the United States typically sell between 15,000 and 20,000 books, more than 300,000 copies of El Codigo Da Vinci were scooped off bookstore shelves across the land, ushering in what some described as a new era for Spanish-language books in America."

According to the Miami Herald, most of the big publishing houses with home offices in Spain also have U.S. offices in Miami.

"The recent explosive success of El Secreto, the Spanish translation of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, opened eyes. After its June release, the self-help book almost immediately hit the top spot on the charts of Criticas magazine -- the equivalent of Publishers Weekly for Spanish books. Simon & Schuster's Atria Books has printed more than 245,000 copies in anticipation of a mega-hit by Spanish-language standards."

I have a good friend who teaches Spanish and who has lived and worked in South America. She recently invited me to attend a film which won the People’s Choice Award at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The film, Bella, was mostly notable for me in the way it blended English and Spanish almost seamlessly. Even with my limited Spanish, I was able to follow the dialogue without any difficulty. There were subtitles to help any Spanish-impaired viewers.

America has always called itself a melting pot. I enjoy watching that pot bubbling.

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