Through experience we know that when we approach a man or woman in the street and ask them directions in their native language they tend to reciprocate positively and immediately. This is true wherever in the world you may be. The moment they hear the first few familiar words emanating from you they would drop their otherwise inherent guard and listen to you.
The same cannot be said if we ask them the same question in a language alien to them. For starters they would look confused and would also back away, not fully knowing what you had asked or told them. A sense of apprehension would envelop them and they would try to avoid you, because they would not have understood what you wanted.
In the same context it would be imperative that we select the right languages to translate our website when we launch it. Research show that there are about 6,500 languages being used universally by the human population to communicate with each other. Of this total, about 10 of these languages account for about 85% of users.
Hence if you intend to take your business to a global audience it would be prudent to select these 10 languages and have your website translated into them. If you do so the chances are that you would be able to reach about 5,950 million users worldwide if they are all hooked onto the internet.
It is a foregone conclusion that the English language stands tall like a sentinel above every other language, as being the most prolifically used on the internet. Hence most global websites launched would use English as their base language and translations if any would extend to the other more popular languages. It is estimated of which there are no authentic findings, that about 478 to 536 million internet users at this very moment use the English language.
This would roughly account for about 1/3 of the world’s internet users. That would be a staggering 33% of all internet users at any given time. Hence it would be a safe bet to assume that you reach the optimum number of internet users when your website uses the English language.
We look at the other nine languages which would be worthy of demanding a translation to take our website to the rest of the global customers we intend reaching to further our business.
China with an estimated population of more than 1.2 billion has about 383 to 444 million of their people on the internet on a daily basis. This accounts to about 22% of the total internet users at any given 24 hour time. If you intend tapping this vast customer base it would need a very versatile translation provider to help you out. There are many cultural constraints when you reach into a culture such as Chinese especially with their numerous regions and ethnic divisions.
You would need to tread cautiously, and if you do the sky could be the limit for your brand. China is a vibrantly expanding market since they embraced the open market policies and if your website strikes the right chords in the Chinese people you could enjoy success like none other anywhere else. China is considered today as an economic powerhouse and a huge market for any product. Taking your product into such a market would need you to be vibrant with an aggressive marketing strategy.
Spanish is the third largest internet users but at 8% they are less than half of the Chinese internet population with an estimated 137 to 153 million internet users.
Less than 100 million of the world internet community is Japanese, which is about 6% of the total internet users’.
Those using Portuguese as the preferred language to be on the internet are about 73 to 82 million which accounts to about 4% of the total internet users globally at any time of the day.
The German language takes pride of place at number 5 on our list with an estimated 65 to 75 million internet users which would be around 4% of the global internet community.
Internet users employing the Arabic language come in next with 3% of the global online community with about 50 to 65 million at any time. Arabic would also be a complicated language to translate hence would need a versatile and experienced provider to back you up. There are many intricate issues you would need to be aware of if you are to tread in this market.
French internet users would vary as there are a few anomalies when compiling these estimates. It is estimated that there are about 4% internet users who prefer French. This could be above even the number of Arabic users but with about 59 to 79 million on the internet we would list it at number 7 on our list. This could vary if exact estimates are received, especially from the French speaking former French colonies in Africa.
Though Russia is a world power in many other aspects when it comes to internet users they are at number 8 on our list with about 3% users globally. There are an estimated 45 to 59 million online Russians at any given time. This may be due to the fact that 70 years of the communist ideology that they tried to project, effectively shut this language off from the rest of the world.
Though Korea is a small nation they are on this list with about 37 to 39 million internet users which is about 2% of the global online community. There are a technologically savvy nation and that makes them prolific internet users. Here too you would need an experienced translation provider to guide you through as the Korean language could be as complicated as Chinese.
India another economic powerhouse like China with a population of about 1.1 billion people use English prolifically and hence would add onto the number one listing as online users in the English language.
This article first appeared on Harry Clark Translation Blog we find it worth sharing with you: harryclarktranslation.co.nz/top-languages-translate-your-website/