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Do You Need a Multilingual Website?

Posted by Ines Estrelo

Top Spoken Languages:

When trying to understand the positive impact a multilingual website may have on your business, it is crucial to evaluate how many potential customers are available in your target markets and most importantly how to reach them.

It is important to remember that across the internet, users will speak different languages and come from different cultural backgrounds. Assuming English is the lingua franca of the internet may be a big risk to your business.

Top Languages of the Internet:

As you can probably guess, English still retains the number one spot in the ranking of the most commonly used languages amongst internet users, with over 948 million users. However, a close second are Chinese speakers who make up 20.8% of the internet users with over 751 million users.

Many businesses, (especially small new businesses with limited budgets) may overlook this huge population as well as other important international markets, which may hold back millions of new customers from engaging with their business. For those who want to make their business truly global, these facts cannot be ignored.

Below you will find the top languages spoken by internet users and the percentage of content you will find on the internet in each of the top languages:

internet users by language Do you need a multilingual website?

 

 

It is interesting to compare these two sets of data and to note that there is no link proportionally between the number of internet users of a particular language group and the amount of available internet content in the same language. For example, Chinese is spoken by millions of people yet only 2.0% of the online content is in Chinese.

*Other languages listed bellow

So why have a multilingual website?

As seen, English speakers make up the biggest segment of internet users at 26.3%. Although this is the biggest segment of users, English website content makes up 52.3% of all online content. Evidently English content on the internet is much more saturated than any other language.

There is a good chance that any new target audiences who speak any language other than English are having a hard time finding content in their native language. Therefore, creating a multilingual website can go a long way to fill this gap as well as putting your company in a much better position to respond to and engage with the needs of international customers.

A final thought for you to consider: Would you buy from a website where you couldn’t understand the product specifications or benefits in your own language? Remember… Web users are 4 times more likely to purchase from a site translated into their own language!

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_used_on_the_Internet
http://www.inwhatlanguage.com/blog/7-benefits-of-website-localization/

* Russian, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Persian, Dutch, Korean, Czech, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Greek, Swedish, Romanian, Hungarian, Danish, Thai, Slovak, Finnish, Bulgarian, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Latvian, Estonian, Hindi.



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