One of the most useful metrics when expanding to a global marketplace is having solid analytics on the most common languages spoken. With that in mind, you may be wondering what the most common languages are. You may also wonder which countries speak which languages.
You may be surprised to learn that Spanish is the 4th leading language spoken around the world behind only English. In fact, there are more than 1.5 billion people speaking Spanish. However, Mandarin Chinese, has an estimated 1.1 billion speakers; and Hindi with an estimated total of almost 578 million people speaking the language worldwide.
Spanish, ranking 4th, has an estimated total of 512 million speakers. It is one of the leading languages in commerce today, behind only English when it comes to global trade. These are the most recent figures as reported by Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon, USA.
When it comes to the most common languages spoken in commerce, it only stands to reason why Spanish ranks as highly as it does. As the native language to most of South and Central America, economies such as Columbia and Mexico account heavily for that with their global trade in consumer goods, coffee and produce. Within South America there are various dialects but grammar is common throughout. Therefore, when importing or exporting products, a Spanish translation service would primarily use Spanish as it is spoken in Spain.
A great percentage of countries like Columbia rely heavily on coffee exportation. However, they are not the leading economy in the region. According to Statista, the top 5 Latin American economies are:
And, each of these countries speaks regional dialects. But, commerce, as mentioned, is transacted in what is often referred to as the pure or native Spanish of Spain. All formal writing is done this way as well.
You may be wondering why commerce takes on the pure form of Spanish instead of the conversational dialects of the various regions. Consider for just a moment that even in Spain there are regional dialects such as:
Not necessarily in that order. Although there are other languages spoken in Spain, the official national language is Spanish. Thus, that is the “dialect” used in translation services.
Consider for just a moment that there are 20 independent nations in Latin America and 14 territories. Throughout all 34 of those regions, Spanish is the official language in all but four, being:
Although Brazil has a strong economy, the others are considered “developing economies.” Therefore, any imports or exports are also probably conducted in Spanish. Brazil speaks dialects of Portuguese and since it is not one of the leading languages in global commerce, Spanish is often chosen as the language to be used in translations.
Many of those nations lack the technology of the larger countries of Latin America. Most of them are also not as technologically advanced as North America and most of Europe. Any type of technology can find a ready market in Central and South America, so exports to the region are growing rapidly along with those developing economies. Once again, there is a need for professional translation in order to conduct transactions in the language they understand.
There probably isn’t a language spoken on earth that doesn’t have several regional dialects. Even the United Kingdom has its regional dialects as does the United States, and other leading global economies. It would take a linguist with a doctorate in each language to be able to translate fluently into each of those dialects but all hope is not lost. Education in each and every one of those nations employs the purest form of formal written Spanish.
In the end, until quite recently, much of Latin America lacked large department stores and warehouses like much of the developed world has benefited from for more than a century. With fewer resources than much of the world, it will take much to bring them up to life in the 21st century. It is to these nations that exports are forecast to grow exponentially in the coming decades and why Spanish translations are necessary to the process.
These smaller, developing nations aren’t as likely to learn English as a second language in their schools like Mexico, Chile, and other major economies, so communication in a language they are fluent in will aid in this growth along with the potential for profiting among major exporters to the region.