Coronavirus Flattened the Language Curve According to 2021 Web Globalization Report Card

For the first time in 17 years, the leading global brands did not add languages — yet report predicts language rebound by 2022

Average number of languages leading global websites

A new study finds that 2020 was the first year in nearly two decades in which the leading global brands (websites like Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Mercedes) did not add languages, holding steady at an average of 33 languages.

"We expected to see a drop in languages due to the global pandemic, particularly in the hard-hit travel sector," said report author John Yunker. "Yet the travel industry held steady overall, and while a number of companies did drop languages, such as Cisco and IBM, nearly a third of the websites studied actually added languages, which shows a good deal of optimism regarding the economy, especially in certain sectors."

For example,  FedEx added eight languages, expanding to 39 languages overall. Loréal added eight languages, including Latvian, Estonian, and Greek. And Rolex added three languages, including Hebrew and Hindi. The tech sectors, not surprisingly,

Looking ahead, the report predicts a rebound in languages by 2022 as the pandemic gets under control and as more companies begin expanding in India, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia.

"The internet connects devices, but language connects people," said Yunker. "As the world emerges from the pandemic, we believe language growth will continue again, and possibly accelerate as more companies invest in India, a country with  more than 20 official languages."

About the Web Globalization Report Card

Founded in 2000, Byte Level Research was the first company devoted to the art and science of web globalization. Byte Level Research benchmarks websites and mobile apps based on their global effectiveness — including languages, depth of local content, global consistency, and usability.

The 2021 Web Globalization Report Card is the 17th edition of this report and published alongside the Web Globalization Best Practices & Emerging Trends report.  At more than 500 pages, these reports include a wealth of analysis, website case studies, and recommendations.

Companies do not pay to be included in the Report Card, and all research is conducted by John Yunker; no work is outsourced. Companies that have purchased the Report Card over the years include Adobe, Cisco, FedEx, Sony, and Panasonic.

Some companies have purchased the report for more than a decade, relying on it for both insights into emerging trends and a means of benchmarking their progress.

John Yunker, co-founder of Byte Level Research, is the author of the books Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies and Think Outside the Country: A Guide to Going Global and Succeeding in the Translation Economy (also available in Japanese).

To learn more, please visit www.bytelevel.com.

Source: Byte Level Research

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Categories: Marketing

Tags: ecommerce, global business, global marketing, global trade, globalization, international, languages, localization, translation, web globalization, web localization


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Founded in 2000, Byte Level Research was the first company dedicated to best practices in web and content globalization.

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