When we talk about localization, usually the target market is somewhere across a border — China, Brazil, France — and requires a thorough slate of translation services for a successful international launch. But what about multilingual communities in San Francisco, Chicago or New York? Is your business living up to its full potential in the United States? Or are you missing opportunities right next door due to language use?
When examining American markets, language use is a crucial (and often overlooked) factor. Recent census data shows that more people living in the United States are speaking other languages at home than ever before. Of these 60.6 million, two-thirds speak Spanish. That’s 37.6 million people across the entire country, as a quick look at the 2011 language mapper shows. With such a dominant presence, Spanish is a smart choice for anyone doing business in the U.S., particularly in California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Targeting the Hispanic demographic with culturally-adapted, Spanish language messaging, whether via your website or digital marketing campaigns, is an excellent way to grow your customer base here in the U.S.
Next up behind English and Spanish is Chinese, which currently counts 2.9 million speakers across the United States. The Chinese language has increased nearly 360% over the past three decades, a trend that the U.S. Census Bureau expects to continue.
Also in the past 30 years, the use of Vietnamese, Russian, Armenian, Persian, Korean and Tagalog has more than doubled nationwide. In San Francisco, for example, where 45% of residents don’t speak English at home, Tagalog was just added to the list of languages for city service communications. Other languages such as Hindi and Swahili are also on the rise across the U.S, while many European languages that used to dominate in America are fading. Check out this data visualization to see how the language climate has changed since 1980.
Are you considering partnering with a translation agency to localize your corporate website for international markets? If any of the above languages are on your hit list, your translation efforts will likely pay dividends at home as well as abroad, especially if you’re considering Chinese and/or Spanish-speaking locales around the world. Learn more about our Chinese and Spanish translation services today and get a vision for your multilingual web presence.
Photo Credit: Changyu Hu