You may not yet have considered putting research and development resources into English-French translation as part of your business remit – but here’s why some experts say you should:

With the dawn of the ‘information age’ and the invention of the Internet, the really world-wide economy has begun to take shape. Currently, the information age is taking over. Internet commerce is touching all corners of the world, and computer use is now an everyday factor in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. That means a broader potential consumer base is increasingly available for your products and services. For example:

Says a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments reached 230 million units across the world in the year 2006, nearly 13% growth on 2005. The total will probably grow steadily to 287m by 2009. At no point before have this many people used computers.

The amount of information created and copied in 2010 will grow more than six times to 988 exabytes, a compound annual growth rate of 57%. That means that at no time previously have individuals and organizations had a way of gaining so much information and commercial potential.

While almost 70% of the digital universe will be produced by individuals by 2010, the majority of this material will be touched by an organization along its path – on a network, at a hosting site, in a data center, at a backup system, or at a telephone or Internet switch (IDC). At no time before now has a company brand had so much free commercial potential.

Faced with these kinds of figures, it’s obvious that a bullish business will seek to raise awareness of its brand and opportunities for consumers to buy its products or services, via the Internet. However, one major issue stands in the way of rapid world consumer-base access. That issue is language.

Of course most countries don’t speak the same language, and even if English is the language of business in many nations, knowledge of that language is often restricted to the elite and educated. Currently, the global marketplace is becoming more meritocratic, in that academic qualifications no longer preclude much of the population from becoming technology savvy, and wanting to enter the global marketplace.

It therefore makes sense for companies to start translating their corporate material in order to appeal to non-English speaking consumer markets. Apart from English, there are quite a few other commonly spoken languages, including Cantonese, Spanish and French. From these, French is spoken by an average of 265 million individuals globally, and is used as a way of communicating in approximately 35 countries. English-French translation prevails in a good number of these regions.

Across Europe, French is especially widely comprehended. It’s easily one of the most simple to learn of the European languages, and organizations such as the UN and NATO make it their official language of choice, rather than English, as a result of this. It follows then, that having an English-French translation of your corporate material makes it accessible to your European market and also to your international audience.

In fact, after weighing six considerations, including total count of primary speakers, the total count of secondary speakers, number and population of nations where it’s used, number of main areas of communication using the language globally, as well as economic power of nations using the languages, and socio-literary prestige, Weber put together a compilation of the world’s 10 most influential languages. French was second after English. So, the chances are, if you provide an English-French translation, an individual will be more likely able to easily understand your material.