That’s fair enough when you think about it (when was the last time you bought something online in Spanish?). And you may imagine news like this wouldn’t trouble UK companies, which are surely both web-savvy and globally-focused when it comes to securing new business. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. ‘Last month only two British companies made a list of the 100 best websites for global and multilingual visitors,’ said Christian Arno, MD of Lingo24, ‘and they were placed humiliatingly at 92 and 93.’
Elsewhere research group Common Sense Advisory found that English-only websites fail to reach even 25% of the world’s internet users. So it seems UK companies are missing some golden opportunities - at a time when the Government is desperate to find any way it can to boost the nation’s slowing export recovery.
Of course, language isn’t the sole problem here. European trade is a costly and difficult process for small businesses in the UK. That’s why it’s much easier for smaller outfits in, say, America to expand, compared with their counterparts in Europe; the latter have to deal with myriad legal and logistical issues of trading across borders, of which language is just one.
But when everyone’s struggling to compete, it’s clearly important to think about every possible angle that may help get your product or service out to the biggest possible audience. Simple comme bonjour, n’est pas? Or maybe not.