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Written by Steven Bussey
on July 16, 2019

International business practices are constantly evolving, and with over 7,000 known languages spoken worldwide, companies must utilize different languages to reach a wider audience for global business growth. Where you invest your efforts could have great financial gain for your translation ROI (return on investment) if done strategically.

But how do you decide which languages to target for the most reach and potential growth?

At Andovar, we have taken the guesswork out of the equation and narrowed it down to the top seven most marketable languages businesses should target for their content translation to gain a strategic advantage in an ever-evolving competitive global market.

English

In most countries, English is the primary foreign language used to communicate across businesses and academia. It’s spoken by 379 million people in 137 countries, and is the language most commonly used online.

Therefore, if your website is not translated into English, you are missing opportunities from over 25% of the global market, with buyers in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland, and Ireland. In the US alone, there are roughly 245-million internet users.

English translation of your website is an essential first step for any business owners not operating with English as their first language.

Chinese

Chinese ranks as the second most popular language among Internet users, and is quickly rising as more Asian markets continue to expand their internet usage and connectivity. China has nearly 750-million internet users. Further, economists predict China is set to overtake the United States to become the world’s leading economy by 2030.

With over a billion speakers worldwide in 39 countries Chinese is a language you won’t want to overlook for translation. Especially since English is not widely spoken in China.

Spanish

Spanish is the third most commonly spoken language in the world with over 400-million native speakers not only in Spain and Latin America but including the United States as well.

The United States is the second-largest Spanish speaking country in the world, where nearly 40 million people speak Spanish as their first language, and this is projected to double by 2050. Therefore, if you plan to do business in the US--the world’s largest economy--both English and Spanish need to be on your list for translation languages to implement.

German

German is the fourth most popular language with over 75-million speakers worldwide, and over 70-million internet users.

German translation provides a significant advantage to anyone wanting to pursue international business as Germany is one of the three most populated countries in Europe. Alongside Germany, there are also many German speakers in nearby countries like Austria, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, and Belgium, on which you can capitalize.

Russian

Russian is the eighth most common language spoken in the world with over 150-million native speakers worldwide and it is widely used by many post-Soviet states. Like China, Russia rarely uses English so there is a lot of business potential that your competition may not be reaching.

Russian is also the second most used language for website content after English, which is great for access to a large market of 87.5-million users already utilizing the Internet.

French

There are 75-million French speakers across 54 countries worldwide. And it is estimated that over 200-million people speak French as a second language with that number projected to rise to 750-million by 2050. There are more non-native French speakers than native speakers due to France’s colonial history.

French translation could be a good investment if you are hoping to expand your business to countries in Africa and Canada where French is widely spoken as well.

Arabic

Arabic is spoken by over 300-million people across 59 countries, including the Middle East and Africa. There is a market of eager consumers in the Middle East where wealth and tourism are growing exponentially. However, the majority of these consumers only speak Arabic, so the translation of content into Arabic will give you a significant advantage in the ever-evolving, fast approaching, global marketplace.

Target Audience

Of these seven languages, your target audience should be the greatest factor when deciding which languages you select for translation to give you the most language ROI.

Customers almost always prefer to do business in their native language, and 60% of shoppers from non-English-speaking countries “rarely or never” bought from English-only websites. Tapping into multilingual content has the potential to meet the language needs of over half the global population which is an easy way to differentiate your business from your competitors. Tap into the massive potential for localization ROI by arriving first on the market in any given language.

We, at Andovar, do not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution. Different organizations and industries face unique challenges. Whether you are dealing with budget or time constraints, globally-dispersed review teams, or want to save money on translation, we are ready to discuss your business objectives. From adaptive processes to flexible resources and beyond, we will help you find the best solution to your challenges.

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