Anywhere there is a population; there is a need for language services. The info graphic below demonstrates the distribution of U.S. consumers who speak a language other than English at home. On a global scale, the distribution has a much higher concentration. Approximately 80-85% of these consumers prefer to be serviced in their native language: (click image to view larger)
#1: 20% of consumers, across all markets, prefer to be serviced in their native language.
It is a well known fact in the language industry that 1 in 5 people speak a language other than English at home. In a study titled “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites” it was found, “When [consumers whose first language is not English] were asked about their purchases of less tangible products such as travel and entertainment (airline tickets, rental car reservations, hotel bookings, sporting events, restaurants, and film or theater tickets) and banking, insurance and other financial services, across [the] worldwide sample, four out of five responded that they want communications in their mother tongue.”
#2: Providing language services to customers builds trust and brand loyalty.
The language services industry is worth approximately $35 billion U.S. dollars per year, currently. Over $5 billion dollars of that revenue belongs to the telephone interpreting industry, and that number continues to grow at a rate of approximately 10% for the top 100 language service companies worldwide. The growth of the language service industry is demonstrative of a trend across all industries, particularly industries who have not previously serviced their non-English speaking customers via language services. These markets include but are not limited to the retail sector as well as travel and hospitality. Business leaders are recognizing that when they service their customers in their native language they build trust and brand loyalty that translate into return customers and increased sales. In fact, when surveyed, 3 out of 4 consumers with some English language proficiency agreed that “I am more likely to purchase the same brand again if the after-sales care is in my own language.” That number jumped to 4 out of 5, or 80.6%, for consumers who had little to no English language proficiency.
#3: Language diversity is here to stay.
There is no national language in the United States, and there will most likely not be one in the foreseeable future. That fact, paired with the statistic that one million legal immigrants come into the U.S. every year, means that if businesses want to service their clients, they are going to need to address language access if they aren’t already doing so. Language service companies offer an ever-growing list of solutions for businesses and organizations that are trying to service this ever-growing demographic. Further proof that the language services industry will remain a huge staple in how business is conducted in coming years is indicated in a recent article on CNNMoney.com. The article states “Roughly 25,000 jobs are expected to open up for interpreters (who focus on spoken language) and translators (who focus on written language), between 2010 and 2020, the Department of Labor estimates. That represents 42% growth for the field and does not include the military, which is also recruiting ferociously for more people.” Language diversity is not going away, and if your business isn’t addressing this increasing demographic, then everyone is missing out. Sources:
Photo credit to Business Insider for the map demonstrating the distribution of non-English speakers.
“Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites” by Common Sense Advisory, 2006
“The Top 100 Language Service Providers: 2013.” By Common Sense Advisory, 2013