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.

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