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E-Commerce in India: Beyond English and Hindi
The Indian e-commerce market continues to grow as the government there encourages its expansion and works to ensure that the country’s local languages are integrated into its Digital India and Make in India programs. Unlike its neighbor to the east – China – the Indian playing field is open to international companies, as the ongoing

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As the World Turns: The Changing Fortunes of Online Languages in 2017
Big changes are afoot in cyberspace. In recent years, populations in Africa, Asia, and Oceania surged online with the aid of cheap data plans and government investments. In Myanmar, for example, the mobile grid went up in 2014 and a total population of 53 million now shows 33 million subscriptions, with 80% smartphone penetration and over 50% with active

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Underserved Languages Create Challenges and Opportunities for Global Enterprises
Does your site support Chinese, German, French, Spanish, or other major languages? What about Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, and Mongolian? Could you be missing out on opportunities for increased sales because you are targeting the wrong languages? Probably, but you aren’t alone. In our annual examination of the top 49 online languages on websites

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The Name Game: The Importance of Up-to-Date Locale Knowledge
Countries don’t often change their names. The last major round was in early-to-mid 1990s when: 1) Members of the former Warsaw Pact removed “socialist” or “people’s” from their names; 2) the USSR split into 15 independent countries; 3) the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (“Czechoslovakia” or ČSSR for short)

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Facebook Buys WhatsApp: The Multilingual Challenge to Reach the Next Five Billion
Even as politicians around the world struggle to figure out new ways to contain the internet, the engineers and businesspeople in Silicon Valley uncover ways to extend coverage to more potential customers across the globe.  Facebook’s recent acquisition of mobile messaging startup WhatsApp is a case in point. Many pundits agonized over

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2013 WOW Benchmarks for 116 Economically Significant Digital Languages
Last week Common Sense Advisory published its annual update to the total online population (TOP) and world online wallet (WOW) numbers, including the details on 32 new languages. Today we released the top 30 languages on that list to non-members, along with an explanation of the data and benchmarks. Below, we suggest how they can be used for strategic

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Tectonic Shifts Move Emerging Markets to Parity in Cross Border Trade
In the past decade, emerging economies caught up to the developed world in consumption, and will soon overtake them. Needless to say, this is good for the global economy. That’s not to discount the real suffering entailed by folks in the U.S. and other developed countries as opportunities (for manufacturing toaster ovens, analyzing radiograms

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Web Globalization: How Well Does Your Company Score?
Who’s the master of the web universe? We started our annual internet pilgrimage last fall in order to answer that question. Our team of multilingual testers on three continents logged their journey and took snapshots of the signposts, words, and images that today’s global web traveler encounters. As we went through the web, we asked questions

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Can You Read that Web Address? Yes, ICANN -- or at Least Most of It
Finding that many of the visitors to Barnum's American Museum in New York City would stay longer than they were wanted and thus keep new customers from entering (and paying), P.T. Barnum famously posted signs "This way to the egress." His less sophisticated visitors would go in search of the exotic creature, only to find themselves back on the streets

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Language Death and Why It Matters
21 February 2008 is International Mother Language Day. In the grand scheme of the universe, we may have another billion years or so to colonize outside our solar system before the sun dies out, but probably only a few generations to devise a stable context for social continuity and the survival of our species. Human population and planetary resource

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China: Big Internet Population, Low Online GDP
Last week the research group CNNIC reported that China's net population grew to 210 million by the end of last year. Many companies are already rushing out to find Mandarin specialists or machine translation software to localize their websites. However big those numbers are, don't hyper-ventilate. Instead, back slowly away from your Rosetta Stone CD

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