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Translation statistics 2019: the two charts that matter

By Josian Phillips, 

As the year winds up, here at Brightlines we’ve taken a look at some of the most significant statistics regarding what languages people are using online. We’ve also considered what lessons can be learnt from this.

This is the state of play at the close of 2019.

The most popular languages online 2019

Here are the top ten most popular languages on the web, in terms of users by language:

  1. English – 25.2%
  2. Chinese – 19.3%
  3. Spanish – 7.9%
  4. Arabic – 5.2%
  5. Portuguese – 3.9%
  6. Indonesian / Malaysian – 3.9%
  7. French – 3.3%
  8. Japanese – 2.7%
  9. Russian – 2.5%
  10. German – 2.1%

Source: Internet World Stats | April 2019

As for the numbers, it’s estimated that a whopping great 1,105,919,154 internet users are using English. In second place, 863,230,794 users are engaging with the internet in Chinese. The gulf between second and third is wide, with 344,448,932 people using the web in Spanish.

There are no changes in position here from most popular languages in 2018, although it’s notable that every language has dropped in percentage terms since last year. This is due to the increasing use of languages outside of the top 10 online.

The number of websites by language 2019

The following shows the top ten number of websites by language:

  1. English – 56.2%
  2. Russian – 7.4%
  3. Spanish – 4.6%
  4. German – 4.4%
  5. French – 3.4%
  6. Japanese – 3.0%
  7. Portuguese – 2.5%
  8. Persian – 2.3%
  9. Turkish – 2.1%
  10. Italian – 1.7%

Source: W3Techs | December 2019

Comparing and contrasting these two charts offers some interesting insights. For instance, over half of the sites on the internet are in English, but cater for slightly over quarter of its total audience. And although almost 20% of web users receive their communication in Chinese, only 1.5% of all websites are actually in Chinese – leaving them languishing just outside the top ten.

This also means that, although Chinese users have less choice when it comes to websites, many of the websites available must be getting a huge amount of traffic.

It’s clear that there’s an enormous opportunity to offer more choice to those who engage with the internet in languages other than English. After all, this accounts for almost three quarters of internet use.

As mentioned in our blog – Website translation: 7 best practice lessons – the majority of corporate websites support fewer than 10 languages. As such, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

If you’d like to provide your products and services to non-English speakers, getting your website professionally translated is a great start. Here at Brightlines, we can help you in making your business or organisation multilingual. And we’re happy to chat through your requirements, with no obligation whatsoever. Please contact us today to find out more.

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