The Hottest Translated Languages, According to SDL

SDL today released its “World Language League Table” which lists the languages that SDL has been most frequently translating.

The company says it translates more than a billion words each year into more than 150 languages.

Here are then 10 most-popular languages this year:

1. Canadian French
2. Spanish
3. French
4. German
5. Italian
6. Chinese
7. Japanese
8. Dutch
9. English
10. Russian

“We have observed a strong increase in European language translations – particularly from the Eastern regions as the EU expands,” notes Chris Boorman, chief marketing officer at SDL. “While Canadian French, Spanish, European French and German have held on to the top four spots since 2006, movements further down the list are strong indicators of international business change.”

I’m happy to see SDL sharing this information. It certainly reinforces what I’m seeing on my end. As I wrote two years back, large companies have moved beyond simply translating FIGS languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish) and are now focusing on emerging markets, such as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). While FIGS still dominate SDL’s list, the BRIC languages are coming on strong.

SDL also released the following chart detailing the fastest-growing languages overall.

SDL languages

Eastern Europe is certainly getting a lot of attention these days, and not just because the EU requires it across many industries. Deloitte, for example, has over the past 12 months launched Web sites for Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria.

So what languages should we expect to see on the top 10 list next year? According to Chris Boorman:

“Contenders for the future could also include Greece, Nordics and the Baltic states, as there is already a growing demand for translation into these languages,” he concluded. “So we could be in for more surprises in next year’s list.”

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