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“The Internet is in English”

It’s easy to fall under this illusion. Even though this statement used to hold true in the 90s, nowadays it doesn’t reflect the reality. Today only 35% of the internet’s content is in English, and this number continues to diminish. The internet is by far the biggest platform for global communication, but it is diverging. Communities all around the world are producing more and more content in their own native language. While browsing in English used to be the best way for people to access desired content, nowadays it’s not necessary. 74% of customers worldwide choose to search in their own language, and in some countries, even choose local search engines over Google (in 2013 both Baidu and Yandex had 62% of market shares in their countries of origin).

 

At this point, we all know how perilous it can be to ignore international markets, no matter what country you’re based it. While English is the predominant language on the web, the fact is that by focusing only on the English-speaking world, you’re losing out on billions of potential customers.

Only 12% of the world speaks English, and only 10% of internet users are from the U.S. That means that if you’re not focused on international countries or languages, you’re ignoring 90% of the world’s population. Imagine if you could reach that 90% — how fast would you grow? How much money would you make? The answer is, likely, a lot.

„I know this one!” I shouted really excited in my Portuguese class the other week. We were learning different idioms and the teacher asked what we think sem pés nem cabeça. It literally means without feet or a head and is used for something that doesn’t make much sense. In Poland we would say something really similar in the same situation –  nie ma rąk ani nóg – it doesn’t have arms or legs.

Most of the Polish idioms sound less familiar to a foreign speaker. Even more – they sound really bizarre. But don’t let that stop you from using them whenever interacting with Poles. With my twenty-four years of experience in speaking Polish, I’m here to teach you some of them:

 

No matter what country you’re based in, when expanding to an international customer base, figuring out payments can be a pain. While it’s easy for American customers to pay American companies, if you’re based outside of the U.S., or you’re trying to collect payments from the billions of people who aren’t American, your options become very limited.

As people in the language business know, FIGS stands for French, Italian, German, Spanish, long considered “The Big 4” when it comes to translation. Traditionally, when people wanted to localize their content for new markets, they turned to these four languages first. After all, they are spoken in many countries, some of which have the largest economies in the world.

But as the world continues to globalize and the internet brings together people from all over the planet, have other languages become more valuable? Some say that the FIGS will be replaced by BRIC—Brazil, Russia, India, China, which account for 40% of the world population. Some say CJK is the next frontier—China, Japan, Korea. (They really missed the mark on the catchy acronym there, didn’t they?)

Christmas is a pretty straightforward holiday — or so you might think. But with the myriad of international communities that celebrate Jesus’ birth, there’s a bevy of seemingly strange and even frightening traditions that happen every year in late December. Thanks to translation services making the world just a bit smaller and easier to understand, every year we’re learning more and more about our cousins — and their traditions — around the world. Here are five surprising Christmas traditions! Happy Holidays!

Grand Central Station in New York City. NYC inhabitants represent hundreds of different nationalities. Many people consider it the most diverse city in the world. It’s also a home to around 800 languages.

You’re excited to take your business international, but you know that step is a big transition from operating domestically. Your marketing department may be well suited for connecting with your current audience, but you need to know whether they can adapt to the marketing expectations of different cultures. When you’re looking at your marketing department to figure out who should head up your international marketing efforts, here are five key characteristics to look for.

 

Shoko is one of our senior translators for Japanese and English. She’s gained the admiration of everyone at Unbabel not only for her exceptional translation, but for helping to improve our technology and our community by providing feedback for our machine translation tech, and our new translators. She also is great at recognizing which translators have potential, which helps us guide them through and support their training.