The Importance of Localization in The Growing Popularity of Social Media

According to Facebook, they have over 800 million active users. Wow! That is a lot of people checking and posting updates and staying connected with people all over the world. What is also interesting is the fact that more than 75% of Facebook users are outside of the United States and there are more than 70 languages available on the site. In other words, millions of people are using Facebook in a language other than English.

Top 10 Languages on the Internet Today

The growing online presence of languages other than English is reflected in the top languages on the Internet today, according to Internet World Stats. The following are the top 10 languages, in millions:

English (536.6)

Chinese (444.9)

Spanish (153.3)

Japanese (99.1)

Portuguese (82.5)

German (75.2)

Arabic (65.4)

French (59.8)

Russian (59.7)

Korean (39.4)

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Translate a website into these top 10 languages and you will be able to tap into the majority of the global purchasing power on the Internet. And while English is still the top language, other languages are quickly closing the gap. Companies desiring to succeed globally can no longer survive if they continue to provide products and services exclusively in English, as the astronomical success of Facebook illustrates.

Twitter in Many Languages

Another major player in the growing world of social media is Twitter. Though not nearly as large as Facebook in terms of the number of active users, Twitter has also realized the importance of localization in reaching the largest number of people possible. The Twitter Translation Center allows users who speak various languages to volunteer their time to help localize Twitter and assist in making Twitter more easily accessible globally.

The revamped Translation Center allows any user to sign up, choose a language, and begin translating (the product itself, not the Tweets). At present, Twitter is offered in most of the top 10 languages on the Internet today, including English, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Indonesian, Russian, Portuguese, and Turkish. Recently, Twitter announced the introduction of five new languages: Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Hindi, Filipino and Malay. With these additions, Twitter now fully supports 17 languages and is “more easily accessible to almost half a billion people around the world,” according to the Twitter Blog ().

If social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have localized their content and products in other languages with great success, then it only makes sense that your business should do the same.