What Languages Does Your Business Need to Speak?
The world seems smaller these days. Internet has turned borders into something conditional, e-commerce also changed the way to do business and expanded its horizons. Even traditional importing and exporting can be easier in an even more interconnected world.
This is why it takes a lot of effort to build and conquer your own little niche in cyberspace.
You mean not everyone speaks English?
According to Statista around one and a half billion people worldwide speak English to some degree. Pretty impressive, don’t you think? Until you realise it also means that five and a half billion just don’t! It might come as a bit of a shock. Do you remember those tourists whose instinctive response to hitting a linguistic loggerhead is to simply repeat what they said slower and louder, thinking this is more than enough.
But the truth is most of the world speaks no English at all.
Furthermore, of that one and a half billion, only 375 million are native speakers. This doesn’t mean English will just stop being the most commonly used language online. It is also the universal language in the business world. However, people with common sense should trust studies that have proven online users prefer visiting websites and shopping online in their own native language. English was pointed as their second choice. One does not simply translate their website content, sit back and start waiting for dividends. This is not exactly the case. Full localization, which includes website adaptation – and your product or service adaptation in particular – is the thing that will best respond to cultural preferences and expectations of consumers. It is also the thing that will bring you dividends.
Food for Thought
There are more than 7,000 living languages in the world and, while we certainly wouldn’t want to play down any of them, some languages are certainly more “niche“ than others. You’re just not going to reach everyone on the planet, even if you’re McDonald’s or Facebook. So there are some languages that can easily be struck off the priority list.
Example: Companies like Uber, Jawbone and Box all use more than 30 languages but the majority of these tech companies use only 10 or less. According to data posted by SVB IEO, you can reach 90% of online consumers using 25 languages. Clearly your business doesn’t have to be localized in every possible language. Selection is strictly individual.
What language will your business speak depends on its specifics and nature.
Google Analytics will be your right hand because it can let you know where visitors to your website are based. Try doing thorough research and analysis of Google Analytics data, because market research is key to not losing time and money, not choosing the languages for business localization the right way. As ever, you just have to take cultural and legal specifics into account before deciding to localize your product or service.
Of course, we at Mitra Translations are your trusted partner you can count on for this not so easy project.