The answer appears to be easy: “If Norway is my market, I need to have a Norwegian language version of my website.” It’s quite logical.
If you present your site in Norwegian to the Norwegians, you will become a more trusted business. But this doesn’t mean that the people from Norway wouldn’t buy from you using an English language version.
It’s good to know that Norway has a population of a little over 5 million people, 90% of who speak English. We can safely say that those 90% are the people below 80 years of age who have a computer and shop online. The situation is similar in the other Scandinavian countries. According to a Eurobarometer survey from 2012, 86% of the people in Denmark and Sweden read and speak English without problems. In case you’re curious, the result for Bulgaria is 25%.
Here are some other countries with high results: Israel (85%), the Netherlands (90%), Singapore (80%), Austria (73%), Finland (70%). I personally was surprised by the fact that a former Yugoslav republic, Slovenia, has 69%, which makes them the clear winner in Southeastern Europe.
Think again about whether you need to translate your website into the local languages of the above countries.
It’s completely different, however, if Spain is your market. Only 22% of the Spanish can speak and read English. Our Southeastern neighbor Turkey reached a similar result: 17%. The Spanish are 46 million; the Turkish – 77 million. It’s clear that these relatively large markets will require their language versions, in Spanish and Turkish respectively. The result in Russia is even more explicit: 5%. What about China? 10 million Chinese read and speak English, but that’s only 0,073% of the total population of 1.3 billion.
Finding out which countries bring traffic to your website
You can use Google Analytics to check where your website users are located. You need to have Google Analytics installed.
When you get to “Location,” you will see precise and detailed information. You will know how may of the visits come from Bulgaria, the US, Russia for example, or from any other country.
Such information can help you make important conclusions and bring you to the right decision on the language versions you need to have for your website.