As businesses grow, they try to reach more people and new regions.
Technology has bridged the gap, and now, someone in Egypt can see your UK business website with a click. Still, the language barrier can make it difficult for them to read and engage with your business, hence the need for website translation and localization.
Yes, we know you can’t translate your website to thousands of languages across the globe. But you don’t need to. While we speak many languages worldwide, few languages are commonly spoken across various regions.
Today, we’ll be talking about the five major languages across each major region, except English, because it is what most websites are originally written in worldwide.
Key Factors when Choosing a Translation Language for your Website
It’s not just about how many speakers a language has but how many speak it natively and which region they are predominantly spoken in the world.
For example, Hindi has about 572 million native speakers. Still, most of them reside in India compared to Chinese Mandarin, which is spoken in 25 countries giving you more reach in the Asian region.
Generally, internet users prefer engaging websites in their native languages.
The Native Language of your Target Audience
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Where do most of your customers live?
- What is their native or first language?
Knowing these answers will help you know which language most of your customers speak.
There are about 8 billion people worldwide, and according to this research by the CIA, 16.5% are English speakers.
Also, 14.6% speak Chinese Mandarin, 8.3% speak Hindi, 7% speak Spanish, and both French and Arabic have 3.6% speakers worldwide. You may assume that more people speak English than Chinese Mandarin by this order.
However, these statistics don’t show how many of these languages people are natively speaking on a daily basis.
Up to 12.3% of the global population use Chinese Mandarin as their first language while 6% have Spanish. English and Arabic speakers make up 5.1% of the population each, and 3.5% speak Hindi natively.
Did you note the languages with a small gap between the number of speakers and native speakers, such as Chinese Mandarin and Spanish? Those are the languages with high priorities compared to others with more speakers than native speakers, like English.
The Number of Speakers Globally Vs. Native Speakers for your Website Translation
A language can be spoken by many people across several countries and be an official language in more countries than others. But that doesn’t mean they have more native speakers of the language globally.
For example, French is an official language in 39 countries but is spoken in 46 countries giving it a large global reach, right? On the other hand, Spanish is an official language in 21 countries but is spoken in 34 countries.
From these two facts, one may assume that French is spoken more than Spanish. But according to these statistics, Spanish has 497 native speakers, almost four times more native speakers than French’s 97 million speakers worldwide.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other. It means that if you’re more concerned about how many people your business is reaching individually, you should prioritize Spanish.
5 Best Languages for your Website Translation in 2023
For enhanced global reach, let’s dive into the five languages you need to translate your business website.
Mandarin is natively spoken by 1.35 billion people, more than any other language on this list. It is an official language in 5 countries but is used as the native tongue in over 25 countries.
If you’re looking to establish your business in Asia, Chinese Mandarin is a one size fits all language.
From the previous statistics, we already know that Spanish has 497 million native speakers globally.
You may think Spanish is predominantly spoken in Spain, its origin country, but it is spoken widely across Central America and South America.
Spanish gives you access to Central and South American regions for those whose businesses are focused on Latin America.
Did you know that most Muslims don’t use Arabic as their native language?
Arabic is spoken predominantly in North Africa and the Middle East. It is spoken in 33 countries but officially in 22.
With over 360 million native speakers, Arabic is a world language because it is a common tongue in a region with hundreds of other ethnic languages.
French is spoken by 300 million people globally but 97 million people natively. It is arguably the best language for global reach asides from English because of its adoption in many countries.
572 million people natively speak Hindi, but most of these people are Indians. This makes Hindi the language with the lowest global reach on the list.
However, consider translating your website into Hindi if you want to expand your business to India.
Remember, reach isn’t always about how many people are speaking a language but is more about how many people in how many regions are speaking a language.
At TranslateSwift, we understand the importance of expanding your business to more regions. That is why we are dedicated to helping you translate and localize your website to the key regions vital for your business growth.
Contact us today to get started on your website translation, so we can help your target customers understand and engage you better.