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What Languages are Used on the Internet?

Did you know there are about 7,097 languages spoken in the world? According to Ethnologue, a source which catalogs languages of the world, this is five less than in 2017 when the number stood at 7,102.

Of these languages, 90% are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people. This information is good knowledge to have. However, if you’re thinking of making your website multilingual you’ll probably be more interested in knowing how many languages are used on the internet.

Of the 7,097 languages, only a small number is used to create content for over a billion websites on the internet.

And you guessed right – English has the most content on the internet at 54%. This largely because it was the founding language of the internet. Also according to Statista, it has the world’s highest number of internet users at 25.4%. Followed by Chinese at 19.3 % and Spanish at 8.1%. Due to the high number of English-speaking internet users, a lot of content is written in English and translated to other languages to target a larger customer base.

Here is a further breakdown of the most used languages after English on the world wide web in 2019 according to research by W3Techs.

Russian. The amount of Russian content in March 2019 stood at 6% making the language come in a distant second to English. The Russian language has more than 100 million users online but only 20% can read or translate English. So it would be a good idea to do translations of your materials to reach this audience.

German. Following Russian closely in the third position is the German language at 5.9%. A study found that only 56% of Germans are prepared to purchase products from a brand if their content wasn’t translated to their native language. So clearly not translating your website could see you lose a large number of potential customers.

Spanish is the fourth most popular language with 5% of all internet content. Other languages within the top ten are;

  • French – 4%
  • Japanese – 3.5%
  • Portuguese – 2.9 %
  • Italian – 2.3%
  • Persian – 2.0%
  • Polish – 1.7%

Chinese didn’t make it into the list of 10 most popular online content languages, which is interesting because as we showed you before it has the second highest number of world internet users. China also has the world’s largest population so we would expect there to be more Chinese content on the web but that’s not the case.

From the above statistics, it is clear if you have ambitions to take your company global you must reach out to your potential leads in their native languages. It has been found that consumers prefer getting product or service information in their mother tongue. Limiting your website to English could hinder your growth in the international market.

So begin using language translation tools available online to do your web translations or consider hiring a translator to help you cater for the different languages out there.

This simple action could maximize conversions and build trust in your brand.

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