Which Languages Matter Most Online?

Which Languages Matter Most OnlineDo you own, manage or represent a business based in Germany, Austria or another nation where the German language is important and wish to expand your business overseas? If you wish to market your products in Australia, then it makes sense to use a German NAATI translator to help you translate your web pages and any other product information into English. NAATI is an Australian translators and interpreters association with high translation standards. The Australian government insists on NAATI accredited German English translators being used for any sort of official document translations, which gives you an idea of how valuable they are.

However, you may also want to advertise your business or get your message across elsewhere in the world – the global market place is expanding yearly and smart businesses are taking advantage of the availability of the Internet to market their goods to a much wider customer base than just exists in the country of origin.

But which languages matter most online? Interestingly, things are changing. English may have been the most important language used on the Internet until quite recently, but it is becoming eclipsed by languages like Chinese and Spanish.

Studies have shown that in order to reach 80% of the global Internet market you need to have effective translation into around 12 other languages other than your own. These languages are Chinese, English, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, French, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, German, Russian and Indonesian.

There are a number of populations that have a growing Internet usage but are almost as equally conversant in one of these 12 languages as much as their own native language. For example, most Indian or Malaysian Internet users understand English very well, so despite Hindi and Malay being the basis of many local websites, these may not have the same relevance that a translation into the Russian language has to a Russian or a Spanish language website to a Colombian!

The numbers of Internet users who have a preference for a particular language doesn’t always reflect spending power, of course. An example is the number of online users who are accessible in English (21.6%). They actually represent 36.3% of online spending power. This compares to the figures for Chinese users of the Internet. They represent a slightly higher overall number of users than for English at 22.7%, but only represent a mere 6.1% of spending power.

These sorts of figures are very useful when a business is trying to work out what languages they make their products known in, especially online. The total online spending power has actually grown from 36.5 trillion US dollars to a current 44.6 trillion dollars in just the last 4 years alone. English language users of that online spending potential are steadily declining and now only represent around a third of the total.