In a world where English is everywhere, is translation still important? Is it even necessary?
English is the third most widely-spoken language in terms of native speakers, of which it has at least 330 million. But if you count the people who speak it as a second language, it’s the most popular language in the world. So, why is translation so important? Here are 5 reasons why translation is important and will remain so, despite the growing ubiquity of English.
Translation is Important Because Not Everyone Speaks English
Sure, English is the most commonly spoken language. But that doesn’t mean you can overlook all the people who don’t speak it! Even England is home to significant populations of foreign and minority language speakers.
And just because a person can speak some English, that doesn’t mean they can speak it well enough to cope in all situations. For example, a 2012 survey from the European Commission found that only a quarter of Europeans were able to understand English well enough to follow an English-language news broadcast. Holding a basic conversation is one thing. Easy and effective communication is another.
Translation is Important Because People Prefer Their Native Language
English is the most-widely spoken language. But, that’s only if you take second-language speakers into account. And therein lies the rub. Almost without exception, people respond better to the language they grew up speaking.
To effectively sell to people, it’s not enough to speak a language that they understand (especially if their understanding is limited). You must speak to them in the language their heart speaks.
Dale Carnegie may have been right when he said “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” But the next sweetest sound is their native language. Babies as young as 5 months old have been shown to recognize and prefer it.
Adults prefer it, too. A study from Common Sense Advisory found that 75% of customers “prefer to buy products in their native language.” And a study from Indian market research company JuxtConsult found that “almost three-quarters [of Indian consumers] prefer and seek out content in their first languages.” Read more