Languages of the Internet & Translation Services: How to Reach a Global Audience


We have found some interesting statistics displayed in the below infographic on the usage of different languages on the internet. This research shows that Chinese is quickly taking over as one of the dominant internet languages after English, with Spanish and Japanese coming in third and fourth place consecutively. In addition, further research carried out by Internet World Statistics shows that in terms of top three rankings of internet users in the world, Asia comes in first, Europe second and North America third.

“China gained 36 million additional internet users last year (2010) meaning there are now over 440 million internet users in the country.English has long been the most widely used language on the internet but with Chinese Internet growth rising at the rate it is, it could be less than five years before Chinese becomes the dominant language on the internet” 

From: The Next Web.

What does this mean for your Business?

This research shows that although many of the World’s population speak English and there’s an abundance of content online in English, there is a whole lot more going on online in languages other than English and companies need to keep up with this in order to increase their global business reach. Now more than ever any Company wishing to do business internationally, and especially those companies hoping to reach customers in the countries where these top languages are spoken, need to be able to be found online through those languages and need to be able to communicate with prospective customers in their native languages.

In short, this means that companies now need to be fully localised in order to reach these target markets and customers. If your Company does business in Asia or indeed in any other foreign language market, there is no excuse not to speak their language.

We can recommend a few steps to help:

1. Translating websites and other online or marketing content:

A company’s website represents the online face of the company and it is essential that any customer looking for a company can:

a.) Find the company’s website easily in their native language

b.) Understand and be able to navigate clearly through the website in order to find what they are looking for.

If your company is doing business abroad, then it is essential that you have some content online in the languages of your target markets. With this, companies need to view website translation services as a necessary avenue rather than an optional extra, and this also means working the costs for translation services into budgets.

By using a Professional Language Services Provider to carry out your website translations, this will ensure that your online content will be fully localised by qualified and professional linguists. This means that  in addition to translating the content to match the style and flavour of the original version, the translation provider will also be able to advise on how best to portray this in the relevant country based on linguistic and cultural nuances and your target cultural and linguistic demographic; it’s about localising content in addition to translating words.

In addition to website translations, companies should complement this by translating other marketing and advertising materials, both online and in print. 

2.Using interpreters at business meetings, trade shows & sales meetings

As part of any business development, and no matter what the industry, it’s necessary for business and sales managers to meet with prospective clients and attend sales and trade events. If your company is doing business in a new foreign market and you’re lacking the language skills, it would be highly beneficial to have an interpreter accompany you to these meetings.

Interpreters can assist with oral communication where there is a group of people who don’t speak the same language and the main benefit for your business is that they can help overcome cultural issues and avoid embarrassing or confusing situations with linguistic or cultural slip-ups. In any business context, first impressions create a lasting impression so it’s essential to get it right the first time around.

To build confidence in your company, brand or product when doing business abroad, speaking your customers’ language can go a long way.