Hexidecimally Lingual: Websites Must Speak 16 Languages to Go Global

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Hexidecimally Lingual: Websites Must Speak 16 Languages to Go Global

New data from research firm Common Sense Advisory suggests that if your brand is to achieve truly global reach in our online world, your website must “speak” more than 16 languages.

Common Sense Advisory publishes reports that are designed to help its clients reach a more global audience, so you could be forgiven for thinking it's obvious the firm would stress a statistic that promotes its own services–but actually, if you read through the company's thinking it all makes good sense. As part of its most recent report dubbed “The Top Scoring Global Websites,” CSA looked at a long list of global brand's websites and rated them for a wide range of accessibility scores, including poly-lingual skills.

The fact that 16 languages is recommended to have the most influential global web presence will come as quite a shock for many global brands who just tackle the top few of the world's most spoken languages (in order of number of speakers it goes Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi-Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Portuguese, and Russian) and rely on English being the lingua franca of the Web; the figure will keep growing, too, as Internet penetration reaches more countries around the world. CSA's math suggests that sites that use 11 languages can only reach 80% of the world, and monolingual sites typically capture just 25% of the world's Net users.

Using the 20 different metrics in its analysis (including user experience, meta-navigation, and more) CSA scored Google the highest, with a total score of 9.56 out of 10. Facebook came second with 9.53 and YouTube third with 9.51. Wikipedia scored 9.43, and Samsung and Blackberry weren't far behind, with scores of 9.11 and 9.10.

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