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Sixty Percent of the World’s Top Global Brands are Multilingual, with an Average of Eight Languages per Website
(BOSTON) - Independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory has released the results of its annual review of the world’s 2,787 most prominent websites. The firm’s global web marketing report, “Assessing the World’s Most Prominent Websites,” is based on its annual Global Website Assessment Index. The report details which industries require the most languages, correlations between languages and revenue increases, and how corporate translation buyers and language services providers can use web metrics for benchmarking and business case development. 

For seven years, the research firm’s analysts and statisticians have combed the world’s most prominent websites. Its latest research reports are based on review of 2,787 websites compiled from Alexa Top 500 Global Sites, the Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 lists. Common Sense Advisory found 59 different languages that appeared 10 times or more and that 60% of these sites were multilingual. English appeared on 2,480 of them (89%). The research reveals that, for multilingual sites, the average number of languages was 8.35, with many major brands offering 30 or more. 

However, the research concludes that most companies add languages too slowly or too late, in effect “chasing” growth into international markets. 

Adds lead analyst on the report, Ben Sargent, “We know from our interviews and consulting engagements that this globalization phase often commences in earnest after saturating home and home region markets. Our data proves that most companies add languages to global websites in an effort to maintain sales growth – but not soon enough or fast enough.”

The report “Assessing the World’s Most Prominent Websites,” includes:
  • Average number of languages per site by broad vertical sector and for 30 sub-industries 
  • Most important languages for 24 vertical sectors and 27 selected sub-industries, including automotive, software, and life sciences
  • Correlation of the financial health of corporations to the number of languages found in their global web presence
Detailed findings and data points in the 90-page research report and subsequent briefs include: 
  • Only a handful of prominent sites become multilingual without English being the first or second language.
  • A country’s level of integration in the world economy is apparent in the average number of languages found on the websites of prominent companies headquartered in that nation. The data from 2013 shows Taiwan has a higher average number of languages on prominent websites than did Indonesia; northern and western Europe remain as the most integrated economies.
  • Businesses that augmented their translation budget were 1.5 times more likely than their Fortune 500 peers to report an increase in their total revenue.
  • Companies with prominent websites offering 33 or more languages, including American Express, Audi, Cisco, Coca-Cola, IBM, McDonalds, and Microsoft, grew the amount of capital they carried over from 2012 to 2013 by 12.42%, almost double the amount as companies with fewer than 20 languages.
  • Minority languages are overcoming majority dominance. In India, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu growing, with Hindi dropping. In Spain, Spanish is falling while Basque, Catalan, and Galician are all rising. 
Companies mentioned in the report include: AAB, Adobe, American Express, Audi, Badoo.com, Banque Nationale de Belgique, Baxter International, Berkshire Hathaway, BHP Billiton, Booking.com, China Construction Bank, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Dailymotion.com, Disney, Eastman Chemical, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Google, GSK, Hyundai, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, KKR, Makita, MasterCard, McDonalds, Microsoft, nifty.com, Olympus, Procter & Gamble, Rolls-Royce, Saudi Kayan Petrochemical, Schindler, Symantec, Taobao, Tencent, Toyota, United Parcel Service, UnitedHealth, Volkswagen, Walmart, WellPoint, and Zillow.

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. It specializes in best practices for translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization. www.commonsenseadvisory.com 


Tweet this: 60% of world’s top global brands are multilingual, with 8.35 as average # of languages ow.ly/squKP. @CSA_Research

Contact: Melissa C. Gillespie, 760-522-4362, Melissa@commonsenseadvisory.com

Submitted On: 1/16/2014

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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