In 2015, the Small Business Administration created SBA en español— a website for Hispanics— under Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. She announced then that the move to develop the Spanish site was inspired by the fact that at that time Hispanics owned over 3.2 million businesses in the US which contributed over $500 million to the nation’s economy.
Since the launch, Hispanic business owners have been using the website until Sept. 17 when much of the web content was eliminated from the site’s homepage. The Small Business Administration plans to replace this site’s content with a Google Translate version.
All who have tried using Google Translate for tasks like writing emails to international customers or write a rushed Spanish essay understand how insufficient the tool can be.
These plans come at a time when there are over 4.37 million Hispanic business owners who must be using these resources in one way or another. In fact, Hispanic-owned firms contributed $700 billion to the US economy last year. Why then would SBA do away with an active Spanish webpage serving millions of merchants?
Is there a reasonable explanation to the move or is it just a poor trend making inroads in the US? The latter could be true—in 2017, White House eliminated its Spanish-language page. When questioned about it, White House said the Spanish page was in review and would be re-launched by the end of 2017. Here we are in Q3 of 2013 and the Spanish resources haven’t been reposted.
Would it be wrong to allege that the Trump administration somehow feels that Spanish resources are insignificant or irrelevant? No, it wouldn’t. On the contrary, we know that these resources are valuable because the nation’s Census Bureau said an entire 40 million people in the US speak Spanish.
With the strict nature of Business matters, how do we expect all these people, both business and customers to survive without essential resources they need to guide them through their dealings. Insisting on elimination or translating this site will force Hispanic merchants to get instructions in a language that they don’t understand correctly.
Imagine having to handle technical legal terms, e.g. tax codes, or follow merchant cash advance application procedures in a language that’s new to you. The task is daunting, and SBA en español assists business owners to understand what they should do.
Beyond accurate comprehension, SBA en español is a useful platform that discusses and takes care of problems affecting Hispanic business owners.
The Spanish blog provided tips for acquiring capital, applying for federal contracts, and seeking certifications need for Hispanic entrepreneurs to break into the market.
Before this week’s elimination this week, SBA en español had not been updated from December 2016.
As we speak, merchants who visit SBA en español meet the words “Anuncio Especial,” on the homepage. On click the “special announcement,” it redirects you to a page that gives guidelines on how to interpret using Google Translate.
The bot-interpreted SBA page has awkward sentence structures that do not make complete sense for Hispanics. Honestly, the move to translate SBA en español, let alone the use of an insufficient tool was a letdown on the Small Business Administration’s part—the sizeable Hispanic contingent still needs these resources.
Author bio: As the FAM account executive, Michael Hollis has funded millions by using merchant cash advancesolutions. His experience and extensive knowledge of the industry has made him a finance expert at First American Merchant.