Languages used on the internet

30th October 2015

Researching which languages are used on the internet should be an important part of your company’s marketing and translation strategy.  As previously discussed, a large majority of consumers only browse websites in their own language. This means there’s a huge online market that will benefit from the translation of your content and services into their language. But which of the many languages used on the internet should you choose?

Translation of your website and marketing material needs to be planned out and geared towards the foreign territories you wish to target.  It might be that you want to export products to neighbouring countries, or you might have a service that you think will work perfectly for ex-pats moving to France or Spain. In these instances, the choice of language used and your translation requirements are pretty straightforward.
But what if you simply wish to drive more traffic to your website, with the aim of converting more sales? If you want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, you need to take some time to look at which languages are being used on the internet now, and are likely to increase in the future.

Languages used on the internet – 2011

1. English (57.6%)
2. German (7.7%)
3. Japanese (5%)
4. Chinese (4.6%)
5. Russian (4.1%)
6. Spanish (3.9%)
7. French (3.4%)
8. Italian (2.1%)
9. Portuguese (1.6%)
10. Arabic (1.6%)

Languages used on the internet – 2015

1. English (55.5%)
2. Russian (5.9%)
3. German (5.8%)
4. Japanese (5%)
5. Spanish (4.6%)
6. French (4%)
7. Chinese (2.8%)
8. Portuguese (2.5%)
9. Italian (2%)
10. Polish (1.7%)

Looking at the figures above, we can see the biggest %-increase is in Russian, followed by Portuguese and then Spanish. The general explanation for these increases are the increased numbers of people connecting to the internet and getting online over the last few years, in the regions of Russia, Portugal and South America. Don’t let the supposed decrease in German or Italian put you off translation content for those languages though; their position has moved, simply because the other languages used on the internet are increasing.

Regardless of which language or languages you choose to fit your business needs, as the world changes, so will the languages used on the internet and your business strategy should be ready to adapt as new markets emerge. As an example, studies by GfK, Google and TNS have shown that “120 million units of smartphones were shipped in seven countries in Asia alone, including Malaysia from September 2013 to August 2014” and “the fact that almost more than three in ten smartphone users in Malaysia exclusively use their devices as the only means of accessing the Internet”. This information means that Malay could be added to the list of languages used for mobile websites and app translation in the very near future.

Once you have done your research, the cost for having your documentation or website translated will cost less than you think, especially when compared to the huge potential in sales that global markets offer.

Contact us now for your free, no obligation, quote.

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