Many languages are widely spoken in the world. It takes a great deal of effort learning a new language enough to interact effectively. The most powerful medium through which it is possible to interact with people of different cultures from across the world is the Internet.
With increased globalization, cross cultural communication has become indispensible especially for online businesses. Most websites today are in English, a language that is understood only by one third of the world population. However, the importance of communicating in native language is being realized by shrewd businesses that strive to translate websites in different languages and transcend cultural barriers.
According to the Internet World Stats updated in December 31, 2017, the ten most popularly used internet languages include:
- 1. English
- 2. Chinese
- 3. Spanish
- 4. Arabic
- 5. Portuguese
- 6. Indonesian/Malaysian
- 7. French
- 8. Japanese
- 9. Russian
- 10. German
Top Ten Languages in the Internet in Millions of users – December 2017
In business terms, it means that as a business, it would be beneficial to translate your website into any of these top languages which allows you to tap into online international multilingual markets. With a translated website, it allows you to measure the likely demand of your services or products before you decide to fully expand into a new market. On the other hand, if you are already exporting your services or products to various markets, your business would do much better if you translated all forms of communication to your international clients or stakeholders which includes translating your marketing material including your website.
English and Chinese are the top two most used languages followed by Spanish and Arabic. In keeping with the fast changing trends, this ranking could be totally different in a few years time. The pace at which Chinese language use on the internet is advancing today, it may fast replace English as the primary language.
Two other languages that are fast catching up are Spanish and Arabic. Till now, English of course has dominated the online community. With rising globalization and enhanced cross cultural communication, there is a massive growth in online population across the world.
Realizing the potential of the Internet, businesses are striving to reach across to different cultures and to people speaking different native languages through translation and website localization.