There is a moment when many website owners begin thinking concerning whether they ought to or not undertake translations of their websites. Once you decide targeting the entire globe, your single-language site becomes insufficient for expanding your services world-wide. Majority of potential future clients might not even be conversant with your language. As such, it will be challenging selling them any product or service. Currently there are at least 6,909 living languages known. This may not by itself mean a lot. There are 133 languages which are spoken by less than 10 individuals, 472 languages with below 100 native speakers. That said, just 8 languages boast being spoken by over 100 million natives.

Overall, nearly 6 percent, equivalent to 389 of all languages across the world have one million speakers at least, accounting for 94 percent of worldwide population. By contrast, this large percentage remainder constitutes of languages spoken by just 6 percent of the people globally. Before beginning the process of translating your online content into a given language, you need to first check if it makes economic sense undertaking such activity at all.

Assuming that you are not keen on targeting the general South American region, in such particular situation, you would require providing Spanish and Portuguese translations. If by contrast you are targeting the larger global population and have good amounts of traffic across board, it is vital to get the maximum possible number of users you can, regardless of where thy live.

Target Audiences of Internet Languages

Depending upon the target audience along with scope of users for a given website, any specific site might only require getting translated into one other language.

For instance, an English-language website focused at US audiences could translate content into Spanish alone, whereas a Canadian one would succeed in reaching potential users by translating content into French.

A website which targets European consumers by contrast, will very likely need to do translations into multiple languages, among them French, Italian, German and Spanish.

At times, plainly translating internet content into a different language might not suffice. For a good number of markets, it is critical to carry out localization as well. Doing this affords the website reach of specific audiences that utilize different dialects of that particular language. There are diverse variations of Spanish for instance used all across the globe. Equally, Brazilian Portuguese is slightly different from that spoken in Portugal.

In essence, many people all across the globe are either bilingual or multilingual. However, the statistics below assign just one language per individual speaker to ensure all language totals sum up to the total global population (zero-sum approach). There are no adjustments made for either infants or illiteracy while performing calculations for the internet penetration rate. Just a few nations have 100% literacy, among them Denmark, Australia, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway and Liechtenstein. Most children in such nations adopt internet skills at a tender age. Consider the below top ten languages which web users speak that can aid a business along with individuals in deciding where to focus efforts of website translation. This December 2013 list was provided by Internet World Stats.

top 10


English comes in at the top as the language most commonly utilized by visitors to the World Wide Web. In total, the internet has 800.6 million individuals who speak this language.


China is the most populous nation on earth. It thus makes good sense that Chinese is featured on this list with 649.4 million active users online.


Spanish gets spoken all across the globe. It is not surprising therefore that it easily features prominently on this top-10 list. This language is used by 222.4 million individuals who visit the web on regular basis.


Arabic has in total 135.6 million speakers who visit the internet, which is an impressive online population.


Portuguese might appear slightly displaced in the race for internet popularity, but it comes in fifth with a total share of 121.8 million users.


The Japanese language is sixth in terms of popular usage online and boasts having total of 109.6 million Web users.


Russian is spoken by 87.5 million users, which renders it the seventh language most commonly used by web visitors.


German lies in eighth position having a total of 81.1 million users in the list by Internet World Stats.


French falls in ninth position in popularity by Web visitors, having 78.9 million users.


Data which Internet World Stats gathered as of 2013 indicates that Malaysian is the tenth language most commonly used by web users, with 75.5 million users.

Diversity of web language can only get higher as more individuals all around the globe gain access to the internet. The diverse languages which internet visitors speak implies savvy web marketers should be keen on translating and localizing their web content to ensure attaining effective communication with their audience.

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