Will English Be Challenged as the Dominant Web Language? | Blog

Will English Be Challenged as the Dominant Web Language?

Will English Be Challenged as the Dominant Web Language?

Thursday, 02 April 2015

Facebook can be set to any language of the user's choosing. In the 1990s, it used to be that 70-80% of the content on the internet was in English.  That is not the case now as more content is available in different languages.  The linguistic breakdown of the internet is getting more and more difficult to verify now that many sites can span multiple languages. 

In 2005, only 45% of the internet's content was found to be in English, and today that number has dropped to 40%.

Only 5% of the world's population are native English speakers, and still only 20% of people out there speak English well. Therefore, one would think that some more variation of language would be needed to account for the other 80% of people. 

Part of the increase in other languages found on the internet is due in part to the fact that internet use grows fastest in countries that do not list English as an official language. Despite the fact that people speaking languages other than English continue to interact with English-language sites, they would rather use their own native language when it comes to building a website. 

The number of Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish language users on the Internet is rapidly outpacing the number of English language users. The graph below shows the explosive percentage growth of Internet users by language from 2000 to 2011.

Percentage Growth of Internet Users

Looking into the future, more content on the Internet will be written in languages other than English as the number of non-English-speaking Internet users increases. The Engco Model of Language Forecasting listed the following as the top languages on the Internet:

Estimate Speakers

 While 2050 may seem far in the future, the trend is clear: languages other than English, such as Hindi and Chinese, will one day take the lead in having the largest number of Internet users.

Karen CEO 70

Written by:
Karen Hodgson, CEO of Translationz

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