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Which Languages Should You Translate Your Website Into?

January 6, 2014

When it comes to website translation, we often get asked which languages provide the greatest ROI for website localization.  High-quality translations don’t come cheap, and clients understandably want to reach the broadest relevant audience without spending an arm and a leg.

So how do you choose the best languages for your website localization project? It depends on where potential consumers for your product or service are located. If you are localizing a game app for the iPhone, then a list of top countries for game downloads and revenue includes China, Japan, Russia, France, and Germany. Translating your app into the respective languages for those countries is a good place to start. Of course other considerations familiar to your sales and marketing team will also factor into the decision. Your product may have already made significant inroads in several foreign markets. It makes sense to expand on that by translating your website into the relevant languages. If your Google Analytics indicate that a significant percentage of your visitors are coming from non-English speaking countries, then translating your website into their native tongues is a no-brainer. 72% of online consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language, so those foreign visits are likely to become longer and more frequent post-website translation.

But as a jumping off point, the top ten languages for Internet users (according to Internet World Stats) are as follows:

  1. English
  2. Chinese
  3. Spanish
  4. Japanese
  5. Portuguese
  6. German
  7. Arabic
  8. French
  9. Russian
  10. Korean

Website translation into the 9 languages on this list (assuming your content is currently in English) means that 82.2% of Internet users will be able to read your website. And given that online consumers are four times more likely to make a purchase on a website that speaks their language, localizing your website into some or all of these languages is a massive opportunity to increase both revenue and market share.