Welcome to Cultural Interviews with Latin American & Spanish Executives

Latin American Executive Opinions

This option box will always be visible. You will be able to click on the above title or the names of the executives to hear their comments.

Key vocabulary related to this topic

You will be able to click on the above title to see a Spanish/English glossary of some of the terms used by the executives in their interviews.

Cultural points related to this topic

Here you will click on this title to read a brief description of the cultural issues that are related to the executive comments.
Cultural Interviews with Latin American Executives is a compilation of over 200 brief video clips in which Latin American and Spanish executives discuss cultural issues that are of interest to North Americans. Over 50 native Spanish speaking professionals offer their opinion on these questions. The objective of the interviews is three-fold: First, provide practical cultural information. The opinions represent those of real people. At times they are even contradictory, but they are designed to be a catalyst for discussion, not to provide a definitive answer about some stereotype. Second, the interviews provide vocabulary in areas within a professional setting. The interviews present diverse vocabulary within the context of each individual's comments. Third, these materials provide non-native speakers of Spanish with multiple examples of natural speech, illustrating the way that speakers really talk.

The gray bar above contains the topics of discussion: Negotiation, Language, Social Situations, Time & Schedules, and Spain Interviews. Click on any of these topics and a list of questions will appear.

Each page contains the option box to the right which is always visible. Additionally you will see a thumb-nail of the executives who respond to each question. Click on the executive's name or thumbnail to open a new window with the video clip. This window allows users to view the Quick-Time video clip with the Spanish transcript, [S] or the English translation, [E], or without any text at all, [N].

The video clips may also be downloaded in MP4 format so they can be viewed on an ipod. In order to do so, right click (PC) or control click (MAC) on the small red font.
Orlando R. Kelm
University of Texas at Austin
UT CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research)

This is where the vocabulary list will be
adecuado (adj) appropriate
amistad (f) friendship
arreglo (m) arrangement
cálido (adj) warm
comercio (m) commerce, business
confianza (f) trust, confidence
consecución (f) attainment
dar vueltas to go around things
enfocar to focus on
enfoque (m) focus
entrevista (f) interview
establecer to establish
estilo (m) style
exportación (f) export
exposición internacional (f) international experience
familiarizarse to familiarize with
importación (f) import
involucarse to involve
largo plazo (m) long term
llamada telefónica (f) telephone call
logar to achieve
marina de guerra (f) navy
mercado (m) market
negociador (m) negotiator
oficial (m) officer
precio (m) price
remembranza (f) remembrance
sicología (f) psychology
solicitar to solicit
solicitud (f) application, request
sugerencia (f) suggestion
tema (m) topic
triunfante (adj) victorious
Juan es un poco gordito. Juan is a little chubby.
María es más alta que Susana. María is taller than Susana.
Pepe tiene los ojos claros
y la tez blanca.
Pepe has light colored eyes
and white skin.
Mi tío es bastante peludo, alto y de barba abundante. My uncle is very hairy, tall, and with a full beard.
Mi prima es muy bonita, rubia y de nariz fina. My cousin is pretty, blonde, and has a thin nose.

The general assumption is that North Americans are more direct in their negotiation style, while Latin Americans prefer an indirect style where initially more time is given to get to know a partner. This general assumption, however, should be tempered with observations, such as those by Alfredo Cavazos, which indicate that the type and focus of the company also affects negotiation styles. As Mr. Cavazos states, companies involved in exports and imports or companies in international business will follow a more American style. There is also a perception that Latin Americans focus their activities with a long-term objective. It is precisely for this reason that it is worthwhile to spend more time upfront to get to understand your partner better. This is one reason why Latin Americans sometimes see themselves as "cálidos" (warmer) as opposed to North Americans who may seem "colder." Still, individual differences are important. For example, Julio Balestrini comes from a military background and he feels very comfortable with a direct approach. Roberto Salmón provides excellent advice, namely, remember that in the end we are all working towards the same objective and as such, the differences in style are not as important.