The rise of “international” English — otherwise known as American English

I was on the Boingo Web site recently and I encountered a language picker with “English Intl.” listed as an option, as shown here:

boingo_gateway_engintl

This was not the first Web site I’ve encountered to offer an international English option — and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Now what does international English actually look like?

In most cases, it’s American English.

For those who prefer British English, this is not the greatest of trends. But it is a trend. And while Boingo makes it obvious through its language picker, there are many more companies who simply use American English as the default English across all English-speaking markets.

Siemens comes to mind. Not only does this German-based company use American English on its .com page, it also uses American English on its .co.uk page.

I can count on one hand the number of companies that pay to have English translated from American to British or vice versa. And in this financial climate, I may not even need that many fingers.

No.

In the years ahead there will be only one flavor of English on most corporate Web sites — just as there will be only one flavor of Spanish (and maybe even one flavor of French).

One day the media will pick up on this as another sign of the decline of the diversity of languages on this planet.

All I know is that companies are trying to communicate with as much of the world as possible while spending as little as money as possible. And even language is facing cutbacks these days.

Olympics Web site adds two languages (at the wire)

A commenter on my post on the stunning lack of languages on the Olympics Web site (particularly when compared with Euro 2008) notes that two more languages were added recently: Spanish and Arabic.

Here are before and after shots of the language gateway.

August 6th:

August 14th:

What I find interesting is that these two languages were either added right when the Olympics began or possibly even a few days later.