The way we think heavily influences how we speak, so languages are important. Learning about new languages is a fascinating way to understand people. We use our words to communicate every day, but sometimes they are also a source of misunderstanding and frustration.
While there are many people in the world who are multilingual or bilingual, there are a lot of different languages that are more widely used than others. The most commonly spoken languages in the world are:
English: 1,132 million speakers
Mandarin: 1,117 million speakers
Hindi: 615 million speakers
Spanish: 534 million speakers
French: 280 million speakers
Arabic: 274 million speakers
Bengali: 265 million speakers
Russian: 258 million speakers
Portuguese: 234 million speakers
Indonesian: 199 million speakers
These days, it’s easy to get a taste of another language. Google Translate, Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone provide quick access to snippets of foreign languages, and the Internet enables us to chat and talk with people all over the world. When you translate your website content for a different audience, this helps to boost the quality of your website.
Fortunately, this is also facilitated by modern technology. For example, Weglot makes it easy to translate your website into other languages in a way that’s natural and user-friendly. There’s even a free trial if you’d like to check it out!
Why Languages Are Important
From a business and marketing standpoint, understanding multiple languages may help you to sell and market your products and services all around the world. We live in a global economy, and making your business accessible to diverse audiences in their native language can make it more appealing.
First Language Advantage
For the person reading your marketing material or your content, there’s a tremendous advantage to reading it in their most proficient language. Where there’s a difference in proficiency - meaning that one language is more fluent than another - the brain activates more frontal cortex activity when reading and comprehending the less proficient language. The frontal cortex is the brain’s “responsible adult” - it handles planning and thinking things through rationally.
Learning a second language benefits more than your bottom line; it can benefit your brain, too. Learning to speak a second language can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some studies even indicate that language learning can help your brain grow!
Additionally, learning a foreign language can make you more productive in your native language. Languages are important in helping people multitask and manage attention control, and they help improve speech, grammar and writing in their mother tongue.
Languages are Important for Business
On a personal level, being bilingual is beneficial for your own career development. Studies show that knowing more than one language increases empathy, boosts problem-solving skills, and can even help expand your career opportunities.
When it comes to communicating with your prospective customers, speaking to them in their language is important whether it’s verbally or through your website.
About 7 in 10 users said they’d be more likely to buy from a website that’s written in their language. A little math tells us that 75% of the global population doesn’t speak English as their first language, so by translating your website, you can increase your customer pool by about 54%.
If you want to do business with someone, you have to understand them. You have to know what they value, what they need, and what they want. It’s much easier to comprehend a person if you can understand what they’re saying, so learning their language helps you to know more about them and connect with them on a more personal level.
Adults and Language Proficiency
Some adults start exploring language learning and find that they have a natural inclination for it. It is possible to gain fluency in a second or subsequent language, even if you’ve been monolingual your entire life. But fluency or native-level proficiency isn’t the only goal of learning a foreign language.
Taking the time and effort to learn a foreign language is a sign of respect for the people and cultures that you’re working with, even if you aren’t perfect at it. It’s the first step in gaining a deeper appreciation for the awe-inspiring diversity and beauty of the world around us and the people that we’re so privileged to meet and work with.
Why Languages are Important for Everyone
Understanding a language helps you to understand a culture, and understanding a culture that you weren’t born and raised with can give you a new perspective on your own culture and society. You’ll start to see the good and bad - the things you love and the things you want to work to change. By understanding how other people think and how other people do things, you might find ideas that will help you make your own little corner of the world a little better.
You won’t be perfect when you start learning a new language, and that’s okay. Give it a try, and never stop learning! But in the meantime, you can start translating your website today and using that to communicate with people.
Weglot can help you speak clearly in another language through your website while you master the face-to-face communication that you’ll need soon, and you can try it for free here.
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