If you are trying to reach a consumer in an emerging market there is a fifty-seven-percent chance that your potential customer, supplier or business partner will speak little to no English. Of the 15 fastest growing global markets reported by the The Economist, eight are emerging markets where English is not the native language.
Put simply, if you plan to take your business international, the likelihood of you running into language barriers is high and potentially debilitating. As seen by the chart above, North America and Europe have yet to fully recover from the impacts of the 2008 recession. With the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. economies largely flat-lining the last five years, looking to the growth economies of the world becomes more than a nice-to-have, it becomes a must have for any business looking to grow in the twenty-first century.
The inevitable question comes into play: how do you reach these emerging markets and grow your business? Answer: not with English. Although the British Council reports a continued rise in popularity, English still remains a barrier to entry into emerging markets around the world. Furthermore, the certainty that English will be the language of the future remains foggy at best. The British Council Reports:
A wide range of change is occurring in the status and form of English around the world. Some changes are relatively swift and ephemeral (such as fashions in vocabulary), others are more profound and long term (such as shifts in families). –British Council
With the United Nations tallying more than two billion internet users worldwide, finding out how to connect with these people offline by understanding both their native tongue and their interpretation of English will become paramount for any company looking to reach emerging markets.
-Kunal Sarda, CoFounder and COO of VerbalizeIt
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