The importance of being multi-lingual
“Of course it has been essential for some years for businesses to be on the Internet – today, it is just as essential that their websites be fully multi-lingual!”
- Thomas Clearly, International Website business guru
“Well, yes, we’ve been looking into this... but how? What languages? Which parts of the website?!”
- Joe Everyman, Manager at Anycompany
Before you try to decide how to answer Mr Everyman’s questions, ask yourself this: why is it so essential to have a fully multi-lingual website? And in particular, why is it important for your company?
Globalisation has been with us for some time, but the ever-increasing presence on the Internet of people who previously had no access, especially in Asia and South/Central America, means we are approaching the time of even globalisation – the dispersal of languages on the internet (and elsewhere) is evening out rapidly.
Chinese is not far behind English in the native language of internet users; Spanish- and Portuguese-speakers now outnumber German and French, and the percentage of Japanese- and Arabic-speaking users on the Web is growing fast.
Does your company need to reach these new users?
This burgeoning of non-European Internet denizens creates potentially vast opportunities for businesses of all kinds. But do you have products or services they would be interested in? Or, more succinctly, which markets/language areas would be interested in which of your products/services?
And the answer to that question will lead to answers to the questions poised above: Which parts of your website should be translated into which languages?
Because the potential is so immense, answering these questions is essential to the growth of your company – and arguably, in the long run, to its survival.