What are the Top 10 Languages for Businesses Today?

It’s difficult to determine out of all the world’s languages which ones need extra attention and would benefit a business by translating its product information into that language. There is one important bit of information you can use to help you decide the top languages for international business. That’s what languages your competitors use to promote their products to the overseas market.

International business

Overview of the Top 10 Global Languages

English

This language is spoken by 339 million people, spanning 94 countries. It is also the official language of the twenty key international organizations. In the majority of these countries, it’s usually the main foreign language that’s taught in schools. English is the most common language used by people who access the internet, with nearly 950 million users and is therefore one of the most useful languages for business.

Chinese

Chinese, as a group of Sino-Tibetan languages, has in total 955 million speakers, which covers 14.4% of the global population. The Chinese economy is also the most successful at present and is growing at a steady pace and is set to outstrip the USA as the biggest world economy by 2026.

Spanish

It shouldn’t be overlooked that Spanish is spoken in many countries throughout the world and has many different regional dialects. Overall, 405 million people speak the language. It should be considered when translating marketing content.

Arabic

Arabic, with 295 million speakers, is the official language of more than 28 different countries. The British Council has ranked Arabic as the 2nd most important future language.

German

It’s not just the number of people who speak a language that determines how important it is to business but where the language is spoken and how economically active those countries are. German with 210 million speakers worldwide is spoken in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Germany on its own has the biggest economy in the European Union and is one of the most economically active globally, making German one of the most useful languages for business.

Portuguese

Portuguese has 215 million speakers and is spoken in Portugal, Brazil and in Africa. It’s also the 2nd most spoken language after Spanish in Latin America.

Russian

With 155 million speakers spanning Eastern and central Europe, Russian is the 8th most commonly spoken language globally and surprisingly it closely follows English as he 2nd most used language for website content.

French

French is the language of 102 million Internet users, so can’t be overlooked by businesses looking for languages to target.

Japanese

Japanese is mainly spoken in Japan with 130 million speakers. The country has the 3rd largest world economy. Japan invests a vast amount of money in research and development and is one of the most advanced technologically in the world.

Hindi

Hindi is another language to consider for business translations and localization as it’s ranked 5th as the most-spoken world language attracting 260 million speakers. India, where it’s spoken the most, has it appears the fastest growing large economy.

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