How Many UK Residents Speak More Than 1 Language

Are you working on business content for a UK audience? If you are, your first thoughts might be to create it with English in mind, adding an English voice over and perhaps experimenting with accents. However, for better inclusivity and reach, it could be worth considering the fact that many people across the UK speak more than one language.

How Many UK Residents Speak More Than One Language?

Around 62% of people in the UK can only speak English, and 38% speak at least one foreign language, 18% speak two foreign languages and 6% speak three or more languages. There are also lots of people in the UK who have English as an additional language including a high 44.2% of pupils in London (percentages vary across the UK). For those people, language specific signage, voice overs, subtitles and more is extremely helpful in ensuring they have access to public services, learning platforms and marketing that would be relevant to their needs if they were able to understand the content.

There are various languages spoken across the UK, but there are a few that are more common than others, and they are:

  • Welsh/ Scots/ Irish
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

If you were to be focusing on a specific part of the UK you would be able to fully localise your content to suit that targeted area as certain parts of the UK have clusters of language that differ between counties and even between towns or villages sometimes.

The Benefits Of Supporting Languages Other Than English In The UK

Various studies have been conducted showing that the UK suffers through its lack of language skills, and more children than ever before are choosing not to take languages when selecting their GCSEs. With the support of businesses, schools and any other facility offering any language-based content, it is thought that better linguistic capabilities in the UK could help boost social mobility, the efficiency of the healthcare system, overall wellbeing, quality and accessibility of public services, and enhance the value of a united UK community rich with different cultures and communities.

By supporting your customers or staff with various language options within your content, provided by a qualified voice over agency like, you can boost the impact and effectiveness of your project, and support the linguistic capabilities of the UK too.

With a better understanding of the languages spoken across the UK you can ensure that your content is accurate and able to reach as many people as possible. The benefits are far reaching, from the positive impact on your potential customers, to better accessibility for employees and a boost in brand reputation too. Just be sure to use a professional company for any translation services so that the language you do choose is accurately translated and localised.

multi-lingual communities around the world

How Many People Around the World Speak More Than 1 Language

Speaking more than one language is highly beneficial. It helps you to keep your brain in good shape, helps you learn additional languages with more ease, helps broaden your job prospects and gives you better ability to communicate.

The positives of knowing more than one language are plenty, but just how many people across the world actually are bilingual or multilingual? Let’s take a closer look:

How Many People Can Speak More Than One Language Worldwide?

As it stands, at least 50% of the world is able to speak at least two languages with some estimates as high as 75%. This is more common in some countries than others. In the UK and America, Italy, Ireland, Hungary and Portugal, populations are less likely to speak an additional language. However, across Europe, certain countries have a really high chance of speaking an additional language. A high percentage of people (over 90%) in: Latvia, The Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Slovenia, Lithuania and Luxembourg are able to speak more than one language. Across the world: Aruba, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Suriname, East Timor are well known for being bilingual or multilingual countries.

Does It All Come Down To Learning?

Although learning additional languages is a deliberate choice for many people, there are lots of countries where learning extra languages is simply expected, or necessary. Papua New Guinea, for example, uses over 840 languages. Of course every person doesn’t speak all those languages, but it’s common for people to be multilingual as par for the course.

Interestingly, a person who speaks a certain language, such as Ukrainian, may also have an understanding of a similar language, such as Russian. So, although they don’t speak the same languages, they, to some degree, can access materials that are in a Russian language.

Some communities may also understand a language conversationally and be bilingual in a sense, but more detailed versions of the language may not translate as well to them. They may also only communicate with that language in certain ways. So, if an area has a second language that many people speak, if you want to capitalise on that by adding that language to marketing content or learning content, it’s important to know how that additional language is generally used. Is it conversational? Is it written or read? This will help you to choose between adding useful layers like subtitles, voice overs or dubbing to content.

So, where it might seem like a good idea to utilise the country’s main language for a voice over, and perhaps a British voice over for business materials or marketing, in fact, there are usually multiple languages you could apply to any one video to further its reach.

Always Choose Professional Translation Services

Whichever languages you choose to use in your business project, always choose professional translation services. A professional translation and voice over agency such as Matinee will ensure that whichever languages end up in your international marketing strategy are correctly translated and localised. This ensures that your content has the best chance of representing your brand well, and communicating your marketing message for a positive impact on your target market.