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Number of Languages Necessary to Reach 90% of Online Audiences around the Globe Climbs to Twenty-one
(BOSTON) – How many languages does it take for global businesses to stay competitive online? According to independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory, a minimum of 13 languages that now include Arabic, Russian, and Swedish. The firm’s latest research brief, titled “ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012,” updates its metrics on the economic clout of the top 30 online languages across 218 countries and territories.

“Monolingual websites fail to reach even a quarter of the world’s internet users in their preferred language. It takes 12 languages to reach 80% of the world’s online audience and 21 to reach 90%,” explains Common Sense Advisory senior analyst Ben Sargent. “We expect this number to continue to grow as the long tail effect exerts its inexorable influence in the years ahead.”

The free report includes detailed calculations, metrics, and concepts applied to 218 countries and territories and 84 languages. It covers:
  • Number of online speakers of a given language, across all countries where speakers comprise a meaningful share of the populace.
  • The economic potential of commercially important language populations, both online and offline. For example, the 204 million Spanish speakers online in 24 countries have a combined spending power of US$3.5 trillion.  
The firm’s research shows the potential ROI of translating into additional languages is much improved due to increased access and the expanding influence of digital content on daily life. Further, it concludes marketing planners should recognize that the greater effort entailed in translating into more languages is offset by increased benefits from expanding e-GDP values for each translation done.

“Companies are learning that if they want to achieve higher levels of international revenue, their web presence must be multilingual,” Sargent observes. “In the past two years, the addressable economic potential using online communication has risen from US$36.5 trillion to $44.6 trillion. Only a third of that total is addressable in English as a native tongue.”

The research brief includes four detailed tables:
  • The 13 languages it takes to address 90% of world online wallet
  • Results for the top 20 countries in 2012, sorted by share of world online wallet
  • The top 30 languages in 2012, sorted by share of world online wallet
  • The 16 most dynamic languages in terms of e-GDP and world online wallet growth
“ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012” is available for free with registration at http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/AbstractView.aspx?ArticleID=2899.  Complete tables for all 218 geographies and all 84 languages are available as a part of the firm’s research membership.

About Common Sense Advisory
Common Sense Advisory is an independent market research company helping companies profitably grow their international businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers. Its focus is on assisting its clients to operationalize, benchmark, optimize, and innovate industry best practices in translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization. For more information, visit: http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com or www.twitter.com/CSA_Research.

Media contact: Melissa C. Gillespie, Melissa@commonsenseadvisory.com, +1 760-522-4362
Submitted On: 7/17/2012

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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