19 Sep. 2013

Flash Eurobarometer has conducted a survey on User Language Preference Online in order to find out just exactly how important it is for websites to be available in the native language or languages of its visitors. The survey was published in 2011 and contains interviews from people from all 27 states that the EU then consisted of.

This survey generally focused on the interviewed people’s opinions on the availability of websites in more than one language, the non-native languages that they used when online, and in what context they used those languages when they did.

It became clear in this report that a bit more than half of all internet users included in this research used other languages than their own when online for any reason, and a total of 57% said they even went on websites that were not available in their native tongue in order to obtain goods or services. 48% of the websites people visited in another language than their own were written in English.

This may seem like a rather large amount of customers that will still possibly visit foreign websites, but the study also showed that 9 out of 10 internet users would rather visit websites written in their own language. Comparing these amounts shows that not having the preferred language available will be a downfall in the current market competition.

Another shocking statement that shows how urgent it is to have a website that has language options is the result of a part of the research where it was inquired how frequently internet users visited websites in other languages in order to obtain goods or services, and a whopping 42% of the internet users answered that they never do. That is almost half of all the consumers that a website in a different language is missing out on! 39% of the people answering that question classified as heavy internet users, respectively, meaning that they do visit websites offering goods and services frequently.

Generally, more than 7 out of 10 interviewees agreed strongly with the statement that they always visited a website in their own language when given the choice. This, once again, shows just how important it is to have that language at their service, and how much this could possibly improve the international traffic to your website.

Altogether this research has clearly shown of how much importance it is to understand one’s market, and that it even may be worth to figure out how widely English is spoken in the country you wish to expand into. Translating your website to your target market’s audience’s language will double the visitors to your website, and improve your chances of successfully penetrating such the online market place.

- Eva Lazar 

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