Each year, for the Web Globalization Report Card, I note the languages supported by more than a hundred websites across more than fifteen industry verticals. And, to ensure I include the leading global brands, I make sure to include more than 70% of the Interbrand best global brands.
My goal is to get a broad understanding of the current state of web globalization.
Over the years, one data point has never failed to impress me.
The number of languages supported by global websites.
When I began the Report Card back in 2003, any company that supported 20 or more languages truly stood apart. Today, 20 languages is well behind the curve.
Today, the average global website supports 28 languages.
That’s not to say that your website should support 28 languages. Amazon, for example, supports a mere 9 languages (not counting English). And though I do believe Amazon should be investing more heavily in web globalization (particularly in light of recent developments at Apple and Google), the fact is that every company needs to develop its own language strategy.
But I will say this much: Web globalization begins with languages. And any companies with serious global aspirations has no choice but to embrace languages.
Lots of them.