pedestrian walks past the street signs at the corner of
Queen and St Vincent Street which carry both the Spanish
and English versions of the names.
might have seen the blue and white signs in Port-of-Spain:
Calle Frederick or Calle Abercromby, calle being Spanish
You might remember having read about a large advertisement
in the newspaper drawing attention to the Secretariat for
the Implementation of Spanish at the Ministry of Trade and
Industry, Riverside Plaza.
Various government officials in the last few years have
spoken of the introduction of Spanish as a second language
And businesses have been touting the advantages of reaching
out to new markets in Spanish-speaking countries.
Thats the backdrop against which Optik Technologies
at 9 Victoria Square East, Port-of-Spain has launched an
online Spanish service.
The service is being offered in partnership with Berlitz
International, an international language instruction, translation
and localisation services company. Berlitz conducts training
in 27 languages.
Operations manager Andrew de Gannes said Optik has co-operated
with the Venezuelan Institute of Culture and Co-operation
to provide workshops, job training and coaching to corporate
and government clients.
De Gannes, who described Optik as a software development
company, said the online Spanish programme has been marketed
at the insurance and banking industries.
CEO Gregory Noone said hes aware that native Spanish
speakers appreciate it when business meetings are conducted
in their language, even though the speakers grammar
and pronunciation may be imperfect.
Noone said learning Spanish as a second language, which
is minimal in the corporate sector, can attract greater
business if a company promotes it for customer services,
interacting with clients, conducting negotiations and at
The two explained that interested clients can pay US$290
for up to 2,000 contact hours. The blended approach
de Gannes spoke of includes online lessons in different
scenariosa business meeting, a cocktail function,
a conferenceand input from an instructor.
Learning with an instructors assistance helps a student
of Spanish develop confidence so he or she is understood
in conversing in Spanish in an unfamiliar setting.
The online lessons will take one through the beginning stages
of speaking Spanish to fluency stage, de Gannes said.
the blended approach, you can be fluent at the end of it,
Optik Technologies, in business since 2000, has conducted
hundreds of courses in business and financial skills, project
management, customer service and information technology.
Locally, Optik was awarded the Business Development Companys
Excellence in E-Commerce 2004, the Ernst &
Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Caribbean 2003, the exclusive
contract with bpTT for the supply of all Internet/intranet
Web development services and develops Web-based catalogue
for Label House Group Ltd.
A big chunk of Optiks business is in Jacksonville,
Optik was selected to design, develop and host the official
online dining guide for the February Superbowl in Jacksonville.
It was also awarded the contract to develop 200 First Street,
a property management development company.