Have you ever wondered which are the most used languages in business translation?
The question doesn’t come up as often as you may think, but in the world of translators, it is a common curiosity. Moreover, the answer may also be helpful for businesses who are looking to expand their services and/or products on new markets.
While most major retail websites (Amazon, Banggood, E-bay) have an English version, people from different countries prefer to use their language when it comes to shopping. Moreover, not everyone knows English, especially in areas like South America, Europe, and Asia.
Thus, localisation (the translation of website pages, online accounts, marketing messages, and more) becomes a natural step when a business is taking over a new market.
However, most businesses don’t translate their pages in every possible language; they only work with markets big enough to support their expansion efforts. As a result, localisation and other similar translations only happen in and from specific languages.
This brings us back to today article’s main topic: most used languages in business translation. Let’s have a look at the top 5 and see why businesses prefer them:
Here in the western world, we often forget that China is a huge country, with over 960 million native speakers. In fact, according to statistics, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the whole world.
Moreover, China is the second-largest economy on the globe, which makes Chinese (or Mandarin) extremely popular among global businesses. Not to mention that Hong Kong and Taiwan also use Chinese as their main language (albeit, they use traditional Chinese).
If it were to compare China and Germany, based on territory and population, the discrepancies are quite staggering. However, Germany is one of the main driving forces of the European Union, which becomes the second-largest economy in the world when seen as a whole.
Besides this, Germany has high-powered companies in industries that literally run the world. One great example is the car industry, where products from German companies like Volkswagen or BMW are recognised and appreciated all over the world.
Spreading from Europe to Latin America, Spanish is a language spoken by over 500 million people. But Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Spain, and more are also listed as being economically developed (most are in the top 50 countries with the highest GDP).
More interestingly, about 10% of the entire web content is written in Spanish! So, it’s no wonder that businesses want to use this language for their online platforms!
Yes, Japan is a small country with only 120+ million native speakers. But, despite their territory’s size, the Japanese people are extremely hard-working and focused on results. This allowed them to become one of the most important world economies (3rd place) with companies that rank high in innovative industries such as cars, new technologies, and robotics.
Google stats show that there are over 46 million people who use the internet in the Arabic language, which has led western companies to increase their interest in this area of the world.
While it’s true that translations from and into Arabic are more difficult than most other languages, we can’t ignore the multitude of online users and the wide pool of customers that can fuel businesses for a long time. As a result, more and more companies look for specialised companies that can help with localisation in this language.
As you can see, the number of possible customers and the economic development of a country are the main factors that influence entrepreneurs and corporations when they decide on new markets. Also, depending on products and/or services and goals, most businessmen and women will choose one of the five countries and languages mentioned above. However, a successful expansion on a new market will require the services of a solid communication team, with members who can handle business translations, marketing communication and localisation, and overall cover anything related to language and culture.