So you want to do business in Mexico? Consider this . . .
ü Conversations happen at a closer proximity in Mexico than in the United States. Men in Mexico make a lot of physical contact, often touching the shoulders or arms of the other person in the conversation. It is considered rude to pull away in either scenario.
ü When making purchases in a store, place your money in the cashier’s hand, not on the counter.
ü Referring to yourself as a citizen of the United States in Mexico can cause confusion. Mexico’s official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos (The United States of Mexico).
There are plenty of great business opportunities with our neighbors to the south, but there are also plenty of potential pitfalls, not to mention lots of cultural differences between the USA and Mexico.
Keep reading to discover some valuable tips that will help you navigate the often tricky and confusing cultural maze of the Mexican business market . . .
· Mexicans often use “elaborate, effusive courtesy” when communicating. They may politely say one thing and do another.
· Eye contact is viewed very differently in Mexico than in the U.S.; not making eye contact in the U.S. can be viewed as untrustworthy, whereas continually maintaining eye contact can be considered aggressive in Mexico.
· Mexicans view the family as the most important institution in their lives. Hiring and promoting family members is an accepted practice.
· Though being on time is respected, it is not strictly necessary. You should plan to be at a meeting on time, but be prepared to wait for your counterpart.
· Plan late arrivals to social functions. If attending a party at someone’s home, arriving 30 minutes late is appropriate. Social occasions within the city often have attendees arriving one to three hours late.
· Business meetings are typically set for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, at the discretion of the individual you are setting the meeting with. Your appointment should be scheduled a couple of weeks in advance. Make sure to confirm a week prior.
· Negotiations should be “friendly, gracious, and unhurried.” Be patient and build delays in decisions into your expectations.
· Relationships matter. Get introduced by a trusted source. If that is not possible, make friends with your contact. Who you are matters more than what company you represent.
· Dignity is of the utmost importance. Never pull rank, criticize, or humiliate anyone. You should be courteous and diplomatic. How you act is more highly valued than your status or wealth.
· Over-compromising can be a sign of weakness, but you should build in room to negotiate prices with your first offer.
· A common barrier in negotiations is “financing the cost of foreign goods and services.” Plan for this.
· This is an opportunity for building the relationship. Great topics of conversation include your family, your working life back home, popular sites in Mexico, soccer, baseball, basketball, and bullfighting. Do not discuss immigration, Mexico’s territorial losses, or illegals in the United States.
· Often one person will pick up the check following the meal. It is appropriate to haggle over this, but if your counterpart picks it up, invite them to have another meal at a later time.
· Business meetings often occur during breakfast or lunch and are usually held at a guest’s hotel. Businesswomen should not meet with their prospect alone, but should invite their prospect’s spouse as well.
For your business document translation needs in Mexico or any country in Central or South America, contact McElroy Translation. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you and your company be successful in your international business ventures.
Morrision, Terri, and Wayne A. Conaway (2006). Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, 2nd edition. Massachusetts: Adams Media Corporation.
Our clients vary quite a bit, as do their translation needs. If you have a high volume or content that’s repetitive in nature, you may already be well acquainted with translation memory, otherwise known as TM. But if not, you may wonder “what exactly is this and do I need it?” Let’s discuss!
What is Translation Memory (TM)? TM is a database that stores segments of translated text.
How does TM work? When you submit a file in an editable format (e.g., a Word document or InDesign file as opposed to a PDF), the content of the file is extracted into the TM software, then analyzed for repetition (exact matches) and fuzzy matches (similar but not exact matches). Before translation begins, matches are suggested by the TM software, which can then be accepted or overwritten by the linguist working on the text. As your TM expands, segments can be translated faster and at a lower cost.
Are repetitions free? No. Just because the segment is identical, doesn’t necessarily mean that the context in which it is used is the same. Linguists must edit these segments and occasionally retranslate them to ensure they flow correctly within the entire sentence. However, there are price breaks depending on whether the segment is a new, fuzzy, or repetitive match.
Who owns the TM from my projects? You own your TM; your translation provider maintains it.
Can I move TM from one company to another? You will have to verify with the translation vendor you are moving the TM to that the new vendor can utilize the TM, but yes, your previously created TM is portable to the agency of your choice.
Is TM software- or version-specific? There is an array of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools out there; the most commonly used options are TRADOS, MemoQ, Déjà Vu, and Wordfast. Regardless of the technology your agency of choice is using, TM can be exported into a .TMX file, enabling the exchange of memories between specific tools.
How does TM differ from MT? Translation memory (TM) is a tool used by translators to store the text segments of human translations for reuse. The segments that are reused are specific to each client’s previous documents, establishing better context parallels and higher quality per segment. Machine translation (MT) is automated, nonhuman translation that isn’t client or subject matter specific. With MT, your files are uploaded into the software, which generates an output into whatever language you choose. MT lacks context and quality controls.
How can I learn more? Visit our website to read more about our translation memory capabilities, or ask us directly at email@example.com.