Businesses must keep in mind the important aspect of translation services because regardless which languages you choose, you will eventually have to add new ones as your content formats multiply and your pool of potential customers grows across the globe.
Continuing from the previous article, the list provided is non-exhaustive and purely indicative of global relevance. If your company has a narrower target market, your own ‘top 10’ languages may not include languages from this list. For example, EU legislation leads to a phenomenon whereby a language like Italian, which didn’t make it into our top 10, is currently far more translated to than Arabic. Nonetheless, Arabic-speaking countries represent a greater emerging potential for business opportunities and a growing consumer base.
Here are the other 5 of the Top 10 languages, you should consider for business and marketing content translation when competing in global markets, with the facts and figures on why they are your best option moving forward:
Portuguese is spoken by around 215 million people in Portugal (naturally), Brazil and some parts of Africa. It’s also the second most spoken language in Latin America (behind Spanish). It might come as a bit of a surprise, but even in the race for the most users of a language on the Internet, it manages to come in fifth, with a whopping 154.5 million. On the latest CSA Research’s annual update of language benchmark, Portuguese blasted forward with 6.1% share growth after several flat years.
For business, country-wise, Brazil is probably the main attraction. Despite a deep recession, Brazil is still a big country and a big market. It’s the largest economy in Latin America, and there are some indicators that recovery is on its way in the next year or so, which means business opportunities there will only continue to grow.
With Brazil being the most widely cited science base outside the G8, there are opportunities to capitalise on scientific co-operation and collaboration, including in the areas of pharmaceuticals and energy.
The British Council listed Portuguese as one of the top ten most important languages for the UK’s future, citing potential opportunities in trade, science, education, and diplomacy.
The demand for Portuguese in the US is also increasing, and although it has always been an important world language, it has only recently been recognized as an important language for business and international relations.
Portuguese is also gaining popularity in Asia due to the region’s great diplomatic and economic relations with Portugal and Lusophone countries.
According to estimates by UNESCO, Portuguese is the fastest-growing European language after English and the language has, according to the newspaper The Portugal News publishing data given from UNESCO, the highest potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America.
Given these data, it’s interesting to consider Portuguese as a useful language to unlock business opportunities located across the four continents.
With 155 million native speakers throughout central and Eastern Europe and in Russia, it’s the eighth most common language in the world and the second most used in website content, after English.
As one of the BRIC countries, Russia has been identified as one of the four major world powers whose influence is growing fast. It is already the world’s sixth largest economy and is projected to overtake Germany’s by 2030. While the Russian economy contracted in 2016, it’s expected to recover in 2017.
It’s one of the official languages of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which makes Russian an important language for international relations, diplomacy and trade, as the British Council also notes.
The size of the country, its emerging economy and its natural resources, (it is the top oil producer in the world) readily demonstrate its appeal for business. Moreover, Moscow has the highest billionaire population of any city in the world.
Russia is also famous for its great engineering minds and brilliant IT community, and Russian is one of the popular languages of scientific and technical literature in the ‘hard sciences’, such as physics, engineering and materials science.
The English Proficiency Index rates Russia as a country with low proficiency in English, which is also a good indicator that translating your content into Russian can be an important step for meeting international business goals.
Of course, we all know French as the language of love, but it is also a great language for business. With a total of 75 million speakers in 39 countries, French is still a very popular language today. In fact, it is estimated that around 220 million people also speak French as a second language, and that number is projected to rise to 750 million by 2050, possibly even overtaking English and Mandarin. Online, it’s estimated to have around 102 million Internet surfers.
Post-Brexit, we can expect the European Union to begin using French more often, even if English remains an official EU language. French is also an official language of several international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organization,
The French-speaking world also includes Africa, which is growing rapidly and rich in natural resources. The top 5 fastest-growing African economies include Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Cote D’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. French is an official language in 3 of them. In countries like Algeria, Morocco, Vietnam and Cambodia, where there is a low level of proficiency in English, French is particularly useful as a lingua franca.
If you are targeting consumers in these countries, French translation could be a good investment.
Japanese boasts 130 million speakers located primarily in Japan, which happens to be the third largest economy in the world. It’s also the sixth language for Internet users with e-commerce sales in 2016 of $88.06 billion. The British Council calls Japan ‘a significant contributor to UK prosperity – both as an export market and as a major investor’ and notes that Japan provides a wealth of opportunities, especially in terms science and technology.
Although their economy has shown some signs of stagnation, it’s important not to dismiss the ingenuity of Japanese businesses, where, like Germany, Japan has a reputation for excellence. Japanese companies are highly innovative, and Japan is the world’s second largest investor in research and development, and one of the most technologically advanced and integrated nations in the world.
Japan continues to play an important role in high-level international forums and as a major provider of development assistance. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office considers Japan an important partner in matters of climate policy, energy and resource security, the reform of financial institutions, among others.
As TheRichest.com points out, there’s also the fact that Japan is in the process of building our future robot overlords, so maybe we all need to get with the program: ‘Japan employs over a quarter of a million industrial robot workers. In the next 15 years, Japan estimates that number will jump to over one million, and they expect revenue for robotics to be near $70 billion by 2025.’ Robotics or anything else, revenue of that size might justify any number of economic partnerships.
Why would Hindi be one of the top languages for your business translation and localization strategy? Hindi is the fifth most-spoken language in the world, with 260 million native speakers. India is the seventh largest country by area, the second most populous nation, and arguably the fastest growing major economy.
Along with China, India’s huge consumer base and cultural diversity is regarded as a potentially major future localization market and a potentially significant business opportunity. As a result, the entire bouquet of marketing channels — text, audio, video, ad-film production, etc. — will likely need to be localized.
Although India is home to 125 million English speakers, around 85% of the population doesn’t speak English, and it’s been outpaced by the use of local languages. Hindi grew a massive 66% on the latest CSA Research report on the Top 100 Online Languages, mostly due to mobile web penetration, government investment and other initiatives on the subcontinent, and this set the pace for all Indic languages.
On the international front, there have been proposals to add Hindi to the list of official languages of the United Nations. If approved, all UN documentation will have to be provided in this language.
In conclusion, India’s demographics alone provide a major consumer and business supplier, generating future demand of localized content.
The language landscape is also evolving permanently. For example, the latest Consumer Barometer shows that Malaysia has the highest number of people who use smartphones as their primary device to connect to the Internet. So, Malay could soon be considered a popular language for mobile app translation.
Similarly, the same CSA Research mentioned previously showed Thai, Indonesian and Persian are rising fast due to increasing Internet adoption pushed by their respective countries’ governments and should become relevant for businesses providing marketing content online very soon.
Hence, to optimize business results with global audiences and gain the first market advantage, the choice of target languages is crucial and not always an easy or obvious decision.
Remember that your own market research should come first. Also, your target audience should heavily influence what languages you decide to include in your translation and localization strategy. When it comes to strategizing for language translation, major organizations find it more effective and efficient when engaging a professional language solutions service provider because of their expertise in understanding language, legal and market requirements.
Going global has now become an opportunity to take advantage of, whether you’re in the medical line that requires pharmaceutical translation services, marine industry that requires maritime translation services, logistics industry that requires logistics translation services, film and production industry that require media translation services, or subtitling services, manufacturing or engineering industry that requires construction translation services, or even the banking and finance industry that requires financial translation services, the fact that you can now take your business across the globe without having an office there, and still drive international sales and garner trust and market share for your brand, is an opportunity not to be missed.
(List Source: Amplexor)