It’s obvious that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have both been making a concerted effort to reach out to Latino voters in the 2012 campaign. They have each come out with a myriad of Spanish political ads, both those created for a Spanish-speaking audience and those that are simply a Spanish translation of an existing ad. However, this year Univision will be making it easier for Latino voters to watch the presidential debate live with Spanish subtitles. In the past, Spanish-speaking people would have to wait until the debate was over to read translations or watch overdubbed videos. This year, they can go on Univision’s website and watch the debate streaming live online with real-time Spanish subtitles. Presidential debates are an important way for voters to see which candidate they support based on where they stand with certain issues.
Republicans Tend to Offend Latino Voters
In 2008, only 30% of Hispanic voters in the United States voted republican. Experts say that this was most likely because of the debate over immigration reform, which is obviously a touchy subject for the Spanish-speaking population in America. The problem is not even the candidate’s stance on immigration, it is actually more an issue of the way the candidates approach the situation. Many Latinos feel under attack when a presidential candidate starts describing strict laws on immigration, because they feel that the word “they” encompasses both legal and illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, that sentiment isn’t something even the most skilled Spanish translator could change.
Reaching Out to Naturalized Citizens
Experts agree that the Spanish language translation subtitles for the presidential debate in 2012 will be more effective in reaching out to the Latino audience, especially naturalized citizens. Since naturalized citizens all had to go through an arduous process to gain citizenship, many are eager to vote for the first time. These citizens will most likely have their finger on the pulse of the election, and they will prefer reading the subtitles in their native language.
The Spanish translation for the presidential debate will likely be more effective in reaching out to Latino voters than political ads that have an official Spanish translation version because voters will feel as though they are seeking out information themselves rather than being fed the opinions of the candidates. Thanks to the Internet and modern translation technology, Latino voters will be more engaged in the election than ever this year.