Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

What are the top languages for business? This is where entrepreneurs and international businesses will find the best opportunities

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Thanks to the internet, the world is now a relatively small place. It’s never been easier to operate a global business and find new audiences across different countries and languages. 

More than 7,100 different languages are spoken throughout the world, but just 23 languages account for more than half of the world’s population.

This means that where language and translation is concerned, businesses wanting to reach global audiences have to juggle where to invest their efforts. 

There’s lots to consider. For instance, the most densely inhabited populations exist in Macau and Monaco, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong. These locations alone represent a wide range of languages. Macau features both Chinese and Portuguese. French is spoken most commonly in Monaco and Cantonese in Hong Kong. Whereas Singapore is a city boasting many linguistic influences, such as Tamil, Malay, English, and Mandarin Chinese.

But, if businesses are more interested in the most spoken languages around the world, they should invest in English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi (widely spoken in India), and Spanish. Or, you could take a leaf out of the United Nations’ book and plump for their six official languages: Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and the Arabic language – needless to say, when combined, these are incredibly useful languages for reaching a truly global audience. 

It’s also worth considering which language prevails in your industry, to capitalize on the best business opportunities for your niche. Certain sectors go hand in hand with a specific language. For example, food, wine, and ballet are niches often associated with France. In contrast, most marketing and finance is conducted in the English language.

So, what are the top languages for businesses to sink their globalization efforts into?

There’s no doubt the languages you translate your online business assets into, is something you need to carefully consider. 

The Benefit of Localizing your Website

You’re more likely to attract foreign audiences by improving their experience on your site. Over 72% of internet users prefer to visit websites in their native language, and as many as 50% of Google searches are made in languages other than English. It’s not a leap to assume your products and/or services might better resonate with international customers if you catered your website to meet their linguistic needs. This could be the long-awaited answer to extending your brand awareness and increasing sales. 

How to Effortlessly Translate Your Website Into the Top Languages for Business

Translating your website to broaden your customer pool doesn’t have to be complicated – providing you have the right tools to hand. This is where Weglot steps in.

Weglot is the perfect solution for adapting your online content to meet the needs of foreign audiences. This website translation plugin automatically recognizes every word string on your website, including plugins, buttons and widgets. It then presents the opportunity to translate your website content into several languages automatically.

But Weglot goes one step further than machine translation. Once your website’s translated, you can edit each string individually to ensure individual sentences reflect cultural nuances. On top of that, you can also mark words that shouldn’t be translated – for instance, product and brand names.

Edit each string individually to reflect cultural nuances.

You can also work with your collaborators inside of Weglot’s dashboard. Alternatively, you can hire one of Weglot’s professional translators to make sure your website copy boasts accurate translation.

Add members to the project to make your translations more accurate.

When you first log into Weglot, you’re asked which new language out of over 100 available you would like to translate your website into. Which brings us to the next critical question: what are the top languages for business in your sector?

Easily select the language you want to translate your website into.

The Top Languages for Business

We’ve already hinted that some countries, regions, and even languages, have a greater influence on specific industries than others. So, keep that in mind as you narrow down the top languages to translate your website into.

For example, if you operate in the manufacturing sector, there’s a good chance you’ll work with lots of Chinese enterprises. If you’re in the oil and gas industry, then your target audience might be located in the Middle East, while Brazil is an emerging industrial sector.

You can identify some of the top languages for business by simply looking at a country’s place on the industrial scale, then observing where these languages might come in useful. For example, German is spoken not just in Germany but in surrounding countries like Switzerland, Luxemburg, Austria, and Belgium.

It’s also worth keeping in mind the size of the audience you could be reaching. For example, China claims to have 800 million active internet users compared to just 300 million in the US. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on such a large market?

To help you decide, here are three important languages besides English we believe are imperative for succeeding in international business: 

Chinese

Mandarin Chinese, the official language of China, accounts for more than 917 million native speakers globally, marking it as the world’s most spoken language. By numbers alone, Chinese is a valuable asset for making your mark on the business world. 

That aside, China also enjoys a dominant position. With an impressive $13.61 trillion GDP (2018), it’s certainly one of the strongest competitors against the US for the title of ‘world’s largest economy’. Manufacturing and eCommerce are massive in China. If you’re working in either sector, you could potentially open yourself up to a thriving customer pool – especially when you consider English isn’t commonly spoken in China. 

Consequently, if your website only caters to English speakers, you could be missing out on one of the largest audiences from one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Of course, that’s unless you translate your site into Mandarin.

Spanish

The Spanish language, like many European languages – Romanian, Portuguese, French, Italian, etc., evolved from Latin. Fast forward to today, and Spanish is the second most spoken language after Mandarin and predominantly features throughout North and South America. As the US is the world’s largest economy, it makes sense to appeal to all parts of its population. On top of that, there are many Spanish speakers in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Africa. 

The Hispanic and Latin American population is currently estimated to sit at around 60 million people in the US. However, this is expected to double by 2050, making Spanish a valuable foreign language to localize your website for (providing you want to stay ahead of the curve!). 

This is especially true if you’re in the industry for automobile parts and electronics, a sector Mexico (where Spanish is the official language) is increasingly expanding in. Plus, you might also benefit from Mexico’s open trade, which is certainly something worth looking into. 

On top of that, Spanish is recognized as a popular language-learning opportunity for many schools dotted around Europe and the United States. Interestingly, The British council acknowledges Spanish as the ‘top language for the future’ based on:

  • The UK export market
  • The language needs of UK business
  • Emerging high growth markets

German

We’ve already hinted that German boasts a higher number of native speakers than you might expect. Interestingly, there are an estimated 220 million native German speakers worldwide, many of whom reside in some of the most significant economies across the European Union, including Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. 

If your business operates in engineering or the automotive industry, German could be one of the top business languages for your company. Germany (where unsurprisingly their first language is German) continues to be a leading force in this sector, with industry giant, Volkswagen, selling 10.97 million units in 2019 alone.

German is also a language that contributes massively towards the research and development of medicine, social sciences, psychology, and art. In fact, in 2017, Germany invested a record-breaking 100 billion euros into Research and Development.

Other Top Languages for Business:

While the above three languages are (usually) a good choice for any sector, there are many other top languages for business your website could benefit from. 

Most notably:

  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Japanese
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Hindi
  • Korean

…To name a few.

But, before you make any final decisions, it’s essential to look at the statistics. Refer to data like that provided in the Power Language Index. This is an incredible resource for helping you identify geographic, communicative, and economic powerhouses that each language holds. With this information to hand, you’re much better positioned to pick the best languages to translate your online content into.

However, it’s also essential to consider your own affinity for language when considering translation. After all, language connects people. For instance, you may have a loyal following in another country. Or perhaps you speak a second or third language and wish to use this where your business is concerned? 

Let both the statistics and your heart guide you in picking the best languages for translation.

Use Weglot to Translate Your Site Into the Top Languages for Business

Localizing your website with the top languages for business could open new doors to you on an international level, which is where a plugin like Weglot comes in handy. 

Weglot effortlessly and automatically translates your website into several ‘second languages’, using a mixture of machine and human translation. Sign up for a free trial today or visit the website to learn more about the multilingual translation services.

About the author
READY TO GET STARTED?
The best way to understand the power of Weglot is to see it for yourself. Get your website multilingual live in minutes.
Cookies settings
We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, to provide social media features and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. Learn more with our Privacy policy
Necessary cookies

Some cookies are required to provide core functionality. The website won’t function properly without these cookies and they are enabled by default and cannot be disabled.

Non-necessary Cookie Settings

Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to remember preferences or to help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on its usage.

We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage, to provide social media features and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. Learn more with our Privacy policy
Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest Weglot news and tips!