10 years ago when I was in college, our teachers warned us to not enter one particular website to dig for insight or quote in our work. Wikipedia. There was a lot of distrust at the time in the accuracy of its articles and the mysterious editors that scan the site.
But it’s unique structure and organization has made it one of the most trusted sites in the world. And despite its uneven balance of its 55 million articles towards English, the website is available in 319 languages!
However, it seems like the title for “most multilingual website on the planet” goes to… the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is translated into 1,029 languages ranging from written languages and sign languages to tribal languages.
Living in a highly globalized world means interacting with cross cultural products and services, and working within a global business landscape. In today’s marketplace, having a workforce that is multilingual provides a massive competitive advantage and huge potential benefits – when it comes to the scale of operations, managing customer relationships, communicating with the wider business community.
As a leading tech consultancy, UV follows a borderless approach: we build websites and websites are borderless (OK, well, yes there are domains that determine the origin of the brand; tax and regulatory consequences depending on where you’re selling goods and where you’re buying, etc. but it’s everyday practice to buy from a foreign sie) and so our digital practice is borderless…
We operate in three main locations: New York, US; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Guadalajara, Mexico.
And our workforce stretches out into Brazil, Chile, Peru, Honduras.
That means United Virtualities speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
According to one survey of more than 200 execs from across the world, there are very few companies that have multilingual employees. In fact, only ⅔ of execs said that:
- half of their employees had “professional proficiency” in more than one language.
- 36% reported that of their employees, just one in ten were multilingual.
- 50% of companies said that at least 1/4 of their employees should be learning a second language.
Think about those other names that you interact with on a daily basis: Google can be used in 108 languages; a couple of years ago, Amazon added Hindi, Czech, and Tamil to its website; recently, Netflix added two more languages, Indonesian and French for viewers in Canada – to double its reach in two years to 26 languages; and finally Uber, which had added various languages to its mobile app in the last year.
When a company expands into new language markets it unlocks more regions of the world in which they can work and build relationships.
And it’s not only tech consultancies and tech brands that invest in multilingualism. Investments are being made in agricultural manufacturers, like John Deere, which is now able to talk in 32 languages; car manufacturers, like Ford, which can speak 42 languages. And food and drink brands, such as Starbucks, which can now say “flat white coffee” in dozens of languages, as well as Jack Daniels, which can speak 23 languages so long as they’ve not downed too many.
All enabling themselves to open up new business regions and partnerships with many more millions of customers.
PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware) development & strategy consultancies. Contact us to see how we can work together.