Popular Languages for Business Translation in 2015

It’s a global market, which is why your business should consider translating mobile apps and websites into popular languages to reach consumers around the world.

A study published by the Harvard Business Review found that 72 percent of all consumers spend most of their time on websites in their own languages. The same number are more likely to buy if product information is in their own language. Those are compelling reasons to translate website content because you could be missing out on a huge consumer base if your content is only in one language. However, which languages are the best ones to translate your assets into?

Choosing Languages for Translation

Opinions differ when it comes to the best languages to translate content into. According to Bloomberg, in business, Mandarin Chinese is the most important language after English, with 845 million speakers. There is no doubt that China is an important consumer market for many businesses, and selling your products and services is much easier when your customers understand what you are talking about.

French ranked next in the Bloomberg listing, with the latest data from Forbes suggesting that 750 million people will speak it by 2050. French is widely spoken in Africa, so if you are targeting consumers in that part of the world, French translation could be a good investment.

If you’re talking about popular languages, Spanish is worth considering. Although it is not perceived as a language of business, Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world, which means some of your target consumers likely speak it (many of them in the United States). This is probably why a British Council survey puts Spanish ahead of Arabic, French, and Chinese as a good language to learn.

Language Translation in the Future

Regardless of which languages you choose, you will eventually have to add new ones as global mobile users join your pool of potential customers. 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 added to the list of the most popular languages for app translation.

Where should you start when translating content? Kissmetrics suggests localizing live chats, putting prices in the appropriate currency, and translating the most important and popular pages, which will help you convert more Web traffic into sales. If you’re looking to translate your content for a very specific need – say, the impending holiday season – you might want to prioritize your marketing collateral, getting started guides, menus, navigation, and on-page copy.

Image source: Bigstock

Global Content Trends


About Sharon Hurley Hall

Self-confessed word nerd Sharon Hurley Hall has the perfect job - as a professional writer and blogger. In the last couple of decades she has worked as a journalist, a college professor (teaching journalism, of course), an editor and a ghostwriter. She finds language fascinating and, in addition to English, speaks French, Spanish and a smattering of German.