Third is Important too!
Often the second most spoken language in a country is well known and translated for ease of communication. But what about the third most spoken language? That is a large audience of native speakers in your backyard that may often be unable to understand your organisation’s content and messages.
What is My Country’s third most spoken language?
According to The Economist, “NeoMam Studios, a British design firm, has broken out the first, second and — most interestingly — third most spoken languages in almost every country in the world.” You may find out you do not know what that common language is in your own country!
For example, it makes perfect sense that French is the second most popular language in Canada, but did you know Punjabi is the third? Similarly, in the US, everyone knows Spanish is spoken by many due to the close proximity to Mexico and the years of immigration of Mexicans into the United States. Even Americans are surprised to learn that various versions of Chinese, including Cantonese and Mandarin are the third most spoken languages in the country.
Immigration patterns have a tremendous impact on the populations of more and more countries worldwide. For example, people from Arab speaking countries have been moving to Australia making Arabic the 3rd most spoken language there. And small island developing states (SIDS) like Samoa had large numbers of residents move to larger neighbouring countries like New Zealand to seek stable jobs. Now, Samoan is New Zealand’s third most spoken language!
If you don’t know your country’s top spoken languages, it might be worth some research to embrace new target audiences for your goods and services.
Does the third most popular language in a country have an audience big enough to target?
Although Chinese can have up to 14 versions by some classification systems, the most familiar varieties of Chinese are widely spoken worldwide. Regardless of your company’s location, it is important to translate your content into Chinese. In the United States alone, Chinese is spoken by 2.6 million people. This is a large group of prospective customers that deserve to receive targeted communications translated into their native language.
Likewise, in Australia, where Chinese is the second most spoken language, Arabic is third on the list of languages spoken in Australia. Granted only about 1.5% of the population, or less than a half million people, speak Arabic in Australia, but there are benefits to reaching out to them in a way they will instantly notice and appreciate. The demand for Arabic translation from several languages, but especially English and French, has grown significantly. The Arab speaking populations globally have increasing disposable incomes and are hungry for the latest products and services. Communicating with them directly in their native language creates a competitive advantage over your competitors that have not invested the time to do so.
Ultimately, only you can make the business decision whether investing in foreign language translation makes sense for your organisation. Each industry and product and service category has dramatically different target markets. Going a step beyond the competition by translating materials into the second and third most spoken languages in your geographic target markets is wise.
At Renaissance Translations, we have the capacity to translate your content into multiple languages. Based on our experience, we can also advise you on your priority languages by country. We look forward to learning more about your project goals and how we can help achieve them with you.