Internet language diversity only continues increase as more people around the world acquire access to the web.
The variety of languages spoken by internet users means that savvy web marketers need to translate and localize their web content to communicate effectively with their audiences.
Determining Your Target Audience
When considering the diversity of languages online audiences are using, it’s a good idea to translate your website. But how do you know which languages to translate your website into? After all, depending on your target audience and the scope of your website, it may be efficient to translate your site into just one other language.
For example, an English-language website geared at US audiences might translate content only into Spanish, while a Canadian website would do well to translate its content into French.
A website targeting European consumers, however, will likely want translations into multiple languages, such as French, German, Italian, and Spanish — just to name a few.
Sometimes simply translating website content into another language isn’t enough. For many markets, localization is an essential aspect of website translation, allowing you to reach specific audiences that speak different flavors of the same language.
There are different types of Spanish around the world, for example, and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil versus that spoken in Portugal are not identical.
With this in mind, a look at the top ten languages spoken by web users can help businesses and individuals decide where to focus their website translation and localization efforts.
Top 10 Internet Languages
According to data gathered by Statista, as of 2018 the tenth most common language among web users is Chinese, with 1.8 percent. What is interesting about this statistic is that Chinese is the most spoken language in the world with 1,1284 million speakers. Despite this fact, there are still nine other languages that are used more frequently online.
Next on the list of the most commonly used languages by internet surfers is Persian, with 1.9 percent.
With 2.5 percent of users searching for content in Italian, the Italian language is eighth on our list.
Portuguese may seem like a bit of a dark horse in the race for the most users of a language on the Internet, but it manages to come in seventh, with a whopping 2.8 percent.
French commands 4.1 percent of internet users, making it the fifth most common language.
Spanish — also one of the top three languages spoken in the world — just misses out on a top-three spot here with 5.1 percent.
As recently as 2015, Russian was not included in the top 5 internet languages. However, recent increases in the number of searches being preformed in Russian along with an uptick in the number of pages being translated into Russian, now see this language in the number 3 spot with 6.1 percent.
You may be surprised to see German in the second position here, after all, it is not one of the top 10 most spoken languages. However, when it comes to the internet, German is a powerful force with 6.3 percent of users selecting it as their language of choice.
English still retains the number one spot in the most commonly used languages among internet users, with a commanding 52.9 percent.
Internet Languages by Region
Examine user distribution by region, however, and a different picture emerges. According to Internet World Stats, in 2018 Asia had the largest share of internet users with over 2 billion users, representing 48.7 percent of web users. This is an incredibly high number and one global marketers should pay attention to.
Including a growing Chinese market, in recent years we have seen a large increase in the number of people performing online search in India. At the moment, there are not a lot of translations being preformed for regional Indian languages, but if you’re serious about extending your businesses reach and entering new, up-and-coming markets, keep an eye on India, especially in terms of mobile marketing.
If you need to translate or localize your website for an international audience, contact Accredited Language today and learn how we can help you reach a whole new market.