Differentiating Hispanic Countries Of Origin When Working As A Hispanic Attorney


Just as all Asian peoples are not the same and do not speak the same language, the same is true of all Hispanics. In fact, the word "Hispanic" is a very broad term applied to anyone that speaks Spanish and/or originates from a Spanish-speaking nation. However, there are dozens of subtle differences that separate a person of Chilean descent and a person of Cuban or Puerto Rican descent. As a Hispanic attorney, to generalize or refer to your "Hispanic" clients as any other nationality can be seen as an insult, but there are things you can do to avoid insulting your Spanish-speaking clients.

Learn the Common Dialects Found in the U.S.

There are at least nineteen Spanish dialects worldwide, which have been studied and documented. Five of those are in the US. If you learn what these dialects are and listen very carefully to the Spanish your clients speak, you can communicate better and not insult them by referring to them as some nationality they are not.  

Here are the five dialects heard most often:

  • High Latin, spoken by peoples from the mountain regions of South America
  • Italian-influenced Spanish, found only in Argentina
  • Portuguese-influenced Spanish, often heard in Brazil where there is a high concentration of Portuguese and Portuguese descendents.
  • Castilian, which is much more European Spanish than South American, Central American or Mexican
  • Lowland or Island Spanish, which references Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean

Each of these has its own distinct slang and pronunciation of consonant sounds. Taking the time to explore the dialects further will also allow you to speak in a more relaxed native Spanish with your clients and eliminate miscommunication associated with dialect mistranslations.

Additional Hispanic Issues of Which to Be Careful

Just because your client has a very light skin color does not mean that he or she identifies with being Caucasian. In fact, many Hispanics appear to be fair-skinned because they are of European descent rather than South American. You can just as easily insult or upset your client by referring to him or her as "white" as you can by referring to him or her as "Mexican" or "Spanish." For this reason, consider having this question of distinction on your forms that you give your Hispanic clients to fill out with their personal information. It removes any possible sting of embarrassment when you ask them questions about perceived discrimination and litigation or conflicts with other Hispanic employees.


15 June 2015

Learning How To Heal

After you have endured a traumatic, life-changing car accident, it can be hard to transition back into your everyday routine. As friends and family members chat about upcoming outlet mall sales or holiday plans, you might be secretly worried about how to pay your medical bills or forget about that wreck. Fortunately, dealing with your car accident case proactively by working with an attorney can really help. After I was involved in a car accident a few years back, my attorney stood by my side and helped me to argue for what was rightfully mine. I made this website to teach others what to do if they are involved in an accident.