Why knowing Spanish isn’t good enough to be successful in Latin America [The Culture Guy Podcast]

Adjusting to cultural differences between Spain and the Spanish-speaking parts of the Americas

Salvador Rodríguez Gil BatistaSpanish is the world’s second most common language with more than 400 million native speakers. Comparable to English it has been a lingua franca for centuries and you’ll find people on five continents whose first language is Spanish. This linguistic commonality, however, does not translate into cultural proximity. Take, for instance, Salvador Rodríguez Gil Batista, a fellow cross-cultural consultant from Mexico City who has lived and worked in Madrid for several years.

In their conversation, Salvador and The Culture Guy talk about how life and work within the Spanish-speaking world can be significantly different. During his time in Spain Sal quickly became aware of how European Spanish and that of the former colonies developed differently during the past 500 years. Words have changed meanings, terms and concepts are often described by words which are not alike, and once in a while a word which is perfectly acceptable in one Spanish-speaking country might be offensive in another.

Are the Spanish really “rude”?

Add to that the fact that European Spanish tends to be used in a much more direct way than in Latin America. According to Sal, people from Mexico often experience Spaniards as “rude” due their direct communication style. In this podcast episode Sal also talks about the transatlantic differences in social interactions: establishing relationships, building trust, and getting settled.

You’ll get a chance to experience Salvador and The Culture Guy at work together on June 7 when they will deliver their joint webinar: Mexico & the U.S. – two distant neighbors? To participate register here now.

Connect with Salvador via LinkedIn, Twitter, his personal Facebook, or Gea Cultura’s Twitter and FB Business Page.

For the Spanish speakers among you here’s a link to a webinar Salvador conducted for SIETAR España on the topic of the Mexican perspective on Diversity & Inclusion.


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Listener feedback for The Culture Guy Podcast continues to be excellent and we encourage you to keep sending us your input for future episodes:

  • What are your tips and tricks for cultural adjustment?
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Comments 1

  1. Nice conversation, Christian! These Mexico-Spain intercultural dialogues remind me of US-UK conversations. Ditto Brazil-Portugal. Likely Quebec-France, too.

    Keep up the good work!

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