Connect with 340 Million English Speakers Around the World
Don’t underestimate the value of providing information in English on your website. English has been given official language status in 83 countries. It is estimated that there are over 340 million native English speakers in the world today, and English is the most widely spoken second language on every continent. More than 80% of Swedes and Danes and over 50% of Germans, Belgians, and Austrians now speak English as a second language.
Internationalizing Your Business
Intelligently written content in English helps build stronger and more constructive client-supplier relationships, communicates an organization’s commitment to excellence, and inspires confidence in the products and services it offers. I work with clients to decide what content needs to be translated to attract and capture international clients. For a very modest investment, key information about services and product lines, company policy, national and international quality certifications, or a company’s participation in key trade fairs can be communicated to a broad base of prospective international clients. If your company has secured an important contract, opened new facilities, or is marketing a new product line, the inclusion of English translations of related news stories on your website is the best form of international marketing that money can buy.
Increasing Foreign Enrollment at Your School or University and Internationalizing its Programs and Culture
Schools and universities are now fiercely competing for foreign student enrollment. As foreign students’ first impressions of your institution will inevitably be based on the English-language content posted on your institution’s website and social networking profiles, this information should effectively communicate what makes it special compared to the competition. High quality translations can influence foreign students’ decisions concerning the foreign school they will eventually attend. Educational institutions should also consider the role of English in their internal internationalization strategies and ensure that the English-language documents circulating within departments and faculties are informative and grammatically correct.
Creating International Audiences for Online Cultural and Historical Archives
An increasing number of scholars now rely on Internet archives to carry out their research. English is the most effective language in which to share cultural and historical information and data on an international scale. A good example of how English can be used to disseminate archival material to a wide international audience is Hungary’s Latja Béla Virtual Archive, an online reference resource that documents the work and life of early twentieth-century Hungarian architect and designer Latja Béla. Before launching the virtual archive in 2010, its founders carefully studied all the feasible options for introducing Latja’s work to the largest possible international audience. A proposal was made to produce printed books in various languages, but this option was ruled out due to the difficulty of anticipating demand in any given language and the exorbitant cost of production and distribution. The concept of a online archive was finally adopted for its relatively low cost and flexibility; a virtual archive could be easily maintained, made available to the public without charge, and updated as new material was discovered. Once the format the information would be presented in was determined, it became obvious that English would be the best foreign language to complement Hungarian—not only because English was the language spoken by the widest possible audience for twentieth century architecture and design—but also because it was the language most frequently used in relevant key word searches. Although few people are familiar with the name Latja Béla, searches using key words such as “Hungary,” “architecture,” and “Art Nouveau” serve as magnets that attract visitors to the new website.
Virtual archives are not only useful for disseminating information to scholars; they can also be used to introduce foreign audiences to cultural and historical tourist routes and nature trails, describe the evolution of historical sites, and document immigration and migration with real life stories.
Almost any website’s effectiveness can be exponentially enhanced by the addition of information in English.