T-Index 2010, the languages that matter on the web

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Which languages offer the most potential for your website?


T-Index helps you identify the languages used by the people that will most likely buy from your website or your advertisers. It combines the Internet population and its estimated GDP per capita.

T-Index is a statistical index developed by Translated. It is a percentage value that indicates the market share of each language on the Internet and the languages that offer the best sales potential when translating your website.

Assumptions, methods and limitations are outlined below.

T-Index data summary (2010)

Learn more about T-Index  

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  Countries T-Index Cumulative T-Index Languages Internet population Internet penetration GDP p.c. of Int. pop.*
(!) Restrictfed access to Internet
* GDP per capita of the Internet population
Note: The Internet population of North Korea and the GDP per capita of the Internet population of the Vatican were estimated by our agency. (!) Most of the population has restricted Internet access
1 USA 25.1% 25.097% 1 240,023,600 78.1 % $56,447
2 China (!) 11.2% 36.342% 1 420,000,000 31.4 % $14,454
3 Japan 7.0% 43.351% 1 99,143,700 78.0 % $38,161
4 Germany 5.0% 48.330% 1 65,123,800 79.1 % $41,273
5 UK 3.8% 52.107% 1 51,553,346 84.4 % $39,557
6 France 3.5% 55.628% 1 45,131,600 70.1 % $42,116
7 Brazil 3.2% 58.812% 1 75,943,600 38.2 % $22,629
8 Russia (!) 3.0% 61.793% 1 59,700,000 42.6 % $26,962
9 South Korea 2.5% 64.306% 1 39,440,000 81.3 % $34,398
10 Italy 2.4% 66.667% 1 30,026,400 51.7 % $42,445
11 Canada 2.2% 68.888% 2 26,224,900 78.3 % $45,719
12 Spain 2.0% 70.848% 2 29,093,984 71.8 % $36,374
13 Mexico 1.9% 72.719% 1 30,600,000 27.5 % $32,996
14 Australia 1.5% 74.190% 1 17,034,526 80.1 % $46,638
15 Turkey (!) 1.4% 75.586% 1 35,000,000 45.6 % $21,536
16 Taiwan 1.3% 76.899% 1 16,130,000 70.2 % $43,924
17 Netherlands 1.2% 78.109% 1 14,896,200 89.1 % $43,866
18 India 1.1% 79.229% 2 81,000,000 7.0 % $7,460
19 Poland 1.1% 80.298% 1 22,450,600 58.3 % $25,706
20 Argentina 1.1% 81.365% 1 26,614,813 65.1 % $21,653
21 Iran (!) 1.0% 82.381% 1 33,200,000 50.0 % $16,523
22 Saudi Arabia (!) 0.79% 83.172% 1 9,800,000 34.2 % $43,534
23 Colombia 0.66% 83.827% 1 21,529,415 49.3 % $16,445
24 Belgium 0.63% 84.458% 2 8,113,200 77.9 % $41,972
25 Sweden 0.61% 85.071% 1 8,397,900 92.7 % $39,395
26 Malaysia (!) 0.60% 85.669% 1 16,902,600 65.7 % $19,101
27 Thailand (!) 0.59% 86.259% 1 17,486,400 26.5 % $18,204
28 Indonesia 0.55% 86.813% 1 30,000,000 12.5 % $9,967
29 Hong Kong 0.53% 87.343% 1 4,878,713 69.2 % $58,696
30 Austria 0.53% 87.871% 1 6,143,600 74.8 % $46,395
31 Switzerland 0.53% 88.399% 3 5,739,300 75.5 % $49,632
32 Singapore 0.47% 88.864% 2 3,658,400 78.5 % $68,700
33 Norway 0.44% 89.305% 1 4,431,100 95.1 % $53,647
34 Philippines 0.41% 89.720% 1 29,700,000 30.3 % $7,542
35 Egypt (!) 0.40% 90.121% 1 17,060,000 21.6 % $12,706
36 Greece 0.40% 90.522% 1 4,970,700 46.3 % $43,493
37 Nigeria 0.39% 90.913% 1 43,982,200 29.5 % $4,801
38 Venezuela 0.38% 91.296% 1 9,306,916 34.7 % $22,229
39 Chile 0.38% 91.675% 1 8,369,036 50.4 % $24,479
40 Czech Republic 0.37% 92.050% 1 6,680,800 65.4 % $30,301
41 Israel 0.36% 92.407% 1 5,263,146 72.8 % $36,576
42 Denmark 0.35% 92.760% 1 4,750,500 86.4 % $40,148
43 Portugal 0.34% 93.100% 1 5,168,800 48.3 % $35,515
44 South Africa 0.32% 93.423% 2 5,300,000 10.8 % $32,908
45 Peru 0.32% 93.741% 1 8,084,900 27.4 % $21,202
46 Finland 0.31% 94.052% 1 4,480,900 85.3 % $37,468
47 United Arab Emirates (!) 0.31% 94.358% 1 3,777,900 78.7 % $43,757
48 Ukraine 0.29% 94.652% 1 15,300,000 33.5 % $10,385
49 Romania 0.28% 94.929% 1 7,786,700 35.1 % $19,156
50 Hungary 0.28% 95.205% 1 6,176,400 62.4 % $24,110
51 Vietnam (!) 0.27% 95.478% 1 24,269,083 27.4 % $6,081
52 Ireland 0.27% 95.744% 1 3,042,600 72.4 % $47,126
53 New Zealand 0.20% 95.948% 1 3,600,800 85.5 % $30,581
54 Kazakhstan 0.20% 96.145% 1 5,300,000 34.4 % $20,088
55 Slovakia 0.20% 96.341% 1 4,063,600 74.4 % $26,048
56 Pakistan 0.19% 96.534% 1 18,500,000 10.6 % $5,651
57 Morocco 0.17% 96.705% 1 10,442,500 33.4 % $8,819
58 Belarus (!) 0.16% 96.867% 1 4,436,800 46.0 % $19,757
59 Kuwait 0.13% 97.000% 1 1,100,000 40.9 % $65,071
60 Algeria 0.13% 97.131% 1 4,700,000 13.8 % $15,067
61 Tunisia (!) 0.12% 97.247% 1 3,600,000 34.3 % $17,347
62 Serbia 0.11% 97.356% 1 4,107,000 55.7 % $14,295
63 Oman 0.11% 97.463% 1 1,236,700 36.2 % $46,897
64 Bulgaria 0.11% 97.570% 1 3,395,000 47.1 % $17,037
65 Qatar 0.11% 97.676% 1 436,000 52.3 % $131,260
66 Ecuador 0.10% 97.778% 1 2,359,710 16.2 % $23,263
67 Croatia 0.10% 97.879% 1 2,244,400 50.0 % $24,393
68 Dominican Rep 0.10% 97.980% 1 3,000,000 31.1 % $18,083
69 Lithuania 0.091% 98.070% 1 2,103,471 59.2 % $23,268
70 Syria (!) 0.089% 98.159% 1 3,935,000 18.1 % $12,182
71 Azerbaijan 0.085% 98.245% 1 3,689,000 44.8 % $12,510
72 Slovenia 0.085% 98.330% 1 1,298,500 64.7 % $35,360
73 Uruguay 0.076% 98.406% 1 1,855,000 53.1 % $22,252
74 Cuba (!) 0.070% 98.476% 1 1,605,000 14.0 % $23,612
75 Luxembourg 0.070% 98.547% 1 424,500 86.3 % $89,107
76 Costa Rica 0.067% 98.613% 1 2,000,000 47.0 % $17,983
77 Puerto Rico 0.064% 98.677% 1 1,000,000 25.2 % $34,393
78 Lebanon 0.060% 98.737% 1 1,000,000 24.9 % $32,556
79 Guatemala 0.059% 98.797% 1 2,280,000 17.2 % $14,085
80 Uzbekistan (!) 0.058% 98.855% 1 4,689,000 17.0 % $6,677
81 Panama 0.052% 98.906% 1 959,900 28.6 % $29,049
82 Latvia 0.051% 98.957% 1 1,503,400 67.4 % $18,294
83 Sudan 0.046% 99.003% 1 4,200,000 10.2 % $5,881
84 Sri Lanka (!) 0.040% 99.043% 1 1,776,200 8.3 % $12,241
85 Estonia 0.040% 99.083% 1 969,700 74.6 % $22,057
86 Cyprus 0.039% 99.122% 1 433,800 40.0 % $48,239
87 Jamaica 0.038% 99.160% 1 1,581,100 55.9 % $13,074
88 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0.037% 99.197% 1 1,441,000 31.2 % $13,892
89 Jordan 0.035% 99.232% 1 1,741,900 27.8 % $10,909
90 Bahrain (!) 0.035% 99.267% 1 649,300 89.1 % $29,075
91 Kenya 0.035% 99.302% 1 3,995,500 10.2 % $4,724
92 El Salvador 0.035% 99.337% 1 975,000 13.6 % $19,354
93 Trinidad & Tobago 0.034% 99.371% 1 485,000 39.4 % $38,102
94 Brunei Darussalem 0.032% 99.403% 1 318,900 82.2 % $54,294
95 Albania 0.029% 99.433% 1 1,300,000 35.7 % $12,120
96 Bolivia 0.029% 99.461% 1 1,102,500 11.3 % $14,037
97 Macedonia 0.028% 99.489% 1 1,057,400 51.2 % $14,332
98 Paraguay 0.026% 99.516% 1 1,000,000 14.3 % $14,112
99 Macau 0.026% 99.542% 1 280,900 50.2 % $50,158
100 Georgia 0.024% 99.566% 1 1,300,000 28.2 % $10,005
101 Libya 0.023% 99.589% 1 353,900 5.6 % $35,485
102 Honduras 0.023% 99.612% 1 958,500 12.2 % $12,871
103 Angola 0.022% 99.634% 1 607,400 4.7 % $19,834
104 Iceland 0.021% 99.655% 1 301,600 98.3 % $37,110
105 Uganda 0.018% 99.673% 1 3,200,000 9.9 % $3,072
106 Mauritius 0.016% 99.689% 1 290,000 22.6 % $29,508
107 Malta 0.015% 99.704% 1 240,600 59.4 % $33,666
108 Kyrgyzstan 0.014% 99.718% 1 2,194,400 40.4 % $3,451
109 Moldova 0.013% 99.731% 1 1,295,000 30.0 % $5,482
110 Botswana 0.011% 99.742% 1 120,000 6.0 % $50,212
111 Bahamas 0.0098% 99.752% 1 115,800 37.7 % $45,592
112 Nicaragua 0.0094% 99.761% 1 600,000 10.2 % $8,445
113 Ghana 0.0093% 99.771% 1 1,297,000 5.4 % $3,888
114 Montenegro 0.0090% 99.780% 1 294,000 43.7 % $16,440
115 Barbados 0.0089% 99.789% 1 142,000 49.9 % $33,986
116 Cote D'Ivoire 0.0082% 99.797% 1 968,000 4.7 % $4,564
117 Liechtenstein 0.0079% 99.805% 1 23,000 66.2 % $184,818
118 Cameroon 0.0076% 99.812% 1 750,000 4.0 % $5,506
119 Senegal 0.0071% 99.820% 1 923,000 6.7 % $4,162
120 Zambia 0.0068% 99.826% 1 816,700 6.9 % $4,484
121 Andorra 0.0065% 99.833% 1 67,200 80.1 % $52,612
122 Haiti 0.0065% 99.839% 1 1,000,000 11.1 % $3,532
123 Gabon 0.0065% 99.846% 1 98,800 6.5 % $35,626
124 Namibia 0.0064% 99.852% 1 127,500 6.0 % $27,174
125 Jersey 0.0059% 99.858% 1 29,500 32.2 % $107,224
126 Guyana 0.0058% 99.864% 1 220,000 29.2 % $14,141
127 Suriname 0.0057% 99.870% 1 163,000 33.9 % $18,819
128 Congo 0.0054% 99.875% 1 245,200 6.1 % $11,923
129 Mongolia 0.0053% 99.880% 1 350,000 11.5 % $8,204
130 Tajikistan 0.0052% 99.886% 1 700,000 9.5 % $3,992
131 Iraq 0.0052% 99.891% 1 325,000 1.1 % $8,583
132 Laos 0.0049% 99.896% 1 527,400 7.7 % $5,039
133 Guernsey 0.0049% 99.901% 1 48,300 73.8 % $54,784
134 Yemen 0.0046% 99.905% 1 420,000 1.8 % $5,878
135 Afghanistan 0.0044% 99.910% 1 1,000,000 3.5 % $2,381
136 Kosovo 0.0041% 99.914% 1 377,000 20.9 % $5,821
137 Tanzania 0.0040% 99.918% 1 676,000 1.6 % $3,167
138 Nepal 0.0039% 99.921% 1 625,800 2.2 % $3,390
139 Armenia 0.0039% 99.925% 1 208,200 7.0 % $10,145
140 Greenland 0.0037% 99.929% 1 52,000 90.3 % $38,574
141 Bangladesh 0.0037% 99.933% 1 617,300 0.4 % $3,192
142 Seychelles 0.0033% 99.936% 1 33,900 38.8 % $52,198
143 Mozambique 0.0030% 99.939% 1 612,500 2.8 % $2,617
144 Saint Lucia 0.0030% 99.942% 1 142,900 89.2 % $11,208
145 Zimbabwe 0.0029% 99.945% 1 1,422,000 12.5 % $1,103
146 Malawi 0.0028% 99.948% 1 716,400 4.8 % $2,109
147 Belize 0.0028% 99.950% 1 60,000 19.5 % $24,841
148 Swaziland 0.0027% 99.953% 1 90,000 6.7 % $16,447
149 Faroe Islands 0.0027% 99.956% 1 37,500 76.8 % $39,379
150 Rwanda 0.0026% 99.959% 1 450,000 4.2 % $3,174
151 Antigua & Barbuda 0.0024% 99.961% 1 65,000 75.9 % $20,017
152 Turkmenistan (!) 0.0023% 99.963% 1 80,400 1.6 % $15,580
153 Fiji 0.0022% 99.966% 1 114,200 12.1 % $10,613
154 Cape Verde 0.0020% 99.968% 1 150,000 34.9 % $7,182
155 Maldives 0.0019% 99.969% 1 87,900 22.2 % $11,574
156 St Vincent & Grenadines 0.0018% 99.971% 1 76,000 72.7 % $12,712
157 Ethiopia 0.0016% 99.973% 1 445,400 0.5 % $1,996
158 San Marino 0.0016% 99.974% 1 17,000 56.4 % $51,902
159 Monaco 0.0016% 99.976% 1 23,000 69.8 % $38,068
160 Papua New Guinea 0.0015% 99.978% 1 125,000 2.1 % $6,487
161 Madagascar 0.0014% 99.979% 1 320,000 1.5 % $2,436
162 Bhutan 0.0014% 99.980% 1 50,000 7.2 % $14,667
163 Chad 0.0013% 99.982% 1 187,800 1.8 % $3,849
164 Togo 0.0013% 99.983% 1 356,300 5.9 % $1,994
165 Mali 0.0013% 99.984% 1 250,000 1.9 % $2,776
166 Gambia 0.0013% 99.986% 1 130,100 7.3 % $5,211
167 Benin 0.0012% 99.987% 1 200,000 2.3 % $3,336
168 Equatorial Guinea 0.0012% 99.988% 1 14,400 2.3 % $43,853
169 Grenada 0.0011% 99.989% 1 27,000 29.8 % $21,207
170 Burkina Faso 0.0010% 99.990% 1 178,200 1.1 % $3,158
171 Dominica 0.00094% 99.991% 1 27,500 37.8 % $18,379
172 Cambodia 0.00078% 99.992% 1 78,000 0.5 % $5,430
173 Eritrea (!) 0.00075% 99.993% 1 250,000 4.4 % $1,613
174 St Kitts & Nevis 0.00068% 99.993% 1 17,000 42.4 % $21,605
175 Mauritania 0.00067% 99.994% 1 75,000 2.4 % $4,793
176 Myanmar (!) 0.00061% 99.995% 1 110,000 0.2 % $2,972
177 Dem Rep Of The Congo 0.00058% 99.995% 1 365,000 0.5 % $862
178 Lesotho 0.00051% 99.996% 1 76,800 3.6 % $3,568
179 Guinea 0.00046% 99.996% 1 95,000 0.9 % $2,627
180 Niger 0.00039% 99.996% 1 115,900 0.8 % $1,814
181 North Korea (!) 0.00038% 99.997% 1 47,600 0.2 % $4,293
182 Vanuatu 0.00036% 99.997% 1 17,000 7.8 % $11,465
183 Djibouti 0.00028% 99.997% 1 25,900 3.6 % $5,939
184 Somalia 0.00028% 99.998% 1 106,000 1.1 % $1,431
185 Tonga 0.00026% 99.998% 1 8,400 6.9 % $17,015
186 Sao Tome And Principe 0.00026% 99.998% 1 26,700 12.6 % $5,307
187 Samoa 0.00023% 99.999% 1 9,000 4.1 % $13,669
188 Micronesia 0.00022% 99.999% 1 17,000 15.8 % $7,038
189 Comoros 0.00018% 99.999% 1 24,300 3.2 % $4,009
190 Palau 0.00017% 99.999% 1 5,400 26.0 % $16,843
191 Guinea Bissau 0.00016% 99.999% 1 37,100 2.4 % $2,326
192 Cook Islands 0.00015% 99.999% 1 6,000 50.5 % $13,779
193 Solomon Islands 0.00013% 100.000% 1 10,000 1.7 % $7,094
194 Burundi 0.00011% 100.000% 1 65,000 0.7 % $878
195 Central African Rep 0.000079% 100.000% 1 22,600 0.5 % $1,888
196 Sierra Leone 0.000055% 100.000% 1 14,900 0.3 % $1,980
197 Kiribati 0.000055% 100.000% 1 2,000 1.8 % $14,743
198 Vatican City State 0.000041% 100.000% 1 414 49.9 % $53,327
199 Liberia 0.000033% 100.000% 1 20,000 0.6 % $891
200 Marshall Islands 0.000024% 100.000% 1 2,200 3.4 % $5,963
201 Tuvalu 0.000023% 100.000% 1 4,300 34.8 % $2,913
202 East Timor 0.000021% 100.000% 1 2,100 0.2 % $5,498
203 Niue 0.000014% 100.000% 1 1,100 78.7 % $6,866
204 Nauru 0.000007% 100.000% 1 300 2.1 % $11,925

T-Index Map.

Internet Censorship

In order to benefit from local users, translating your content just isn’t enough in some countries. Below is a map of countries for which the T-Index may provide information that is difficult to interpret without an understanding of local Internet limitations.

Internet Freedom Map | Source: Reporters without Borders http://en.rsf.org

T-Index for beginners

T-Index provides an indication of the purchase power of each language market.

English, with a T-Index percentage value of 34,6%, is the language with the Internet’s highest purchasing power. It covers more than 469 million Internet users all around the world with an average GDP per capita of $39,725.

Before making a decision though, take a look at the table above for a closer look at which countries are covered by the English language market. Can your company access all of the listed markets? The percentage value indicated by T-Index for English (34,6%) will deliver its full potential only if you can access all the countries on the list.

Have you considered the following?

Having studied the local market and the local environment of each listed country, the real value of the English language to your company should become clear and you can compare it with the value of other languages.

An example

An English company has a website in English and Spanish and wants to translate it into one other language. Using T-Index they quickly find that the Chinese and Japanese are the most recommended. However, looking at the table above, the Chinese language market comprises 2 countries, whereas Japanese is only used in Japan. After studying the local markets, it is clear that, due to the nature of their product and the local demand, the company can only address one country in Chinese – Singapore for example. On the other hand, there is no problem for the company in accessing the Japanese market. This gives the following real values for each language:

The company should be translating their website into Japanese!

The study

Assumptions and method

We developed this statistical index to help companies choose the right languages for translating their websites.

Each country has been ranked based on the local language(s) which are most commonly used in business and online, not just based on the number of speakers or on the official local language(s). Each country has been assessed according to a single language, except where the T-index value of the country is in excess of 0.1%, in which case we have assessed the country within several language markets. Only languages spoken by more than 15% of the population have been considered, except where minority language(s) are also official languages, used in business and online. For example, Switzerland, which has a T-index of 0.534%, has been assessed in three different language markets: 63.7% of Swiss internet users belong to the German market, 20.4% to the French market and 6.5% to the Italian market.

A lot of languages in use today are not yet represented on the Internet. In many African and Caribbean countries for example, English is the official language and, as well as often being the unifying language, is widely used in government, public administration, education, business and online. Local languages are often spoken as everyday informal languages by almost all of the population. However the T-Index study only considered languages that are used for business, written communication and the Internet. Many more languages could rise and flourish on the web if local people had better access to the Internet, and if web content and web tools were more easily available in local languages. However due to a combination of government restrictions, technical problems and prohibitive costs, easy Internet access is still not yet a reality in many parts of the world.

Languages that have international variations, such as English, Portuguese or Spanish for example, have been grouped together into their respective standard language. If you want to adapt the language to a particular country, you can do so by consulting the table above.

Dependent territories (e.g. Puerto Rico) have been evaluated according to the governing state, if they share the same language. If they do not share the same language, as is the case with Puerto Rico and the United States, they are included as separate entries based on the language market they belong to.

Not all countries are included in the T-Index study. We included every country for which we were able to find data concerning the number of Internet users and GDP per capita. Without the data it would have been impossible to make an evaluation.

Furthermore, we assumed that Internet users in each country belong to the richest segment of the country’s population.

Firstly, we gathered information about the number of Internet users and the total population, from which we determined the Internet penetration rate* for each country. We then analyzed each country's GDP per capita and income distribution to determine the proportion of GDP which is theoretically earned by Internet users, the average Internet user GDP per capita. Finally, from this information, we were able to establish a value for each language.

For those countries where income distribution data was not available, we calculated the average income distribution for all countries and used this estimate.

The T-Index ranking can be a useful tool for companies making website localization decisions. But other factors, not just the absolute sizes of each language market, need to be considered when choosing which languages (factors like local market demand, competition etc.). Localization is the first step towards attracting new customers, but other key factors, such as the quality of the products / services or the user-friendliness of the interface still need to be optimized to make people buy on your website.

*The Internet penetration rate is the percentage of Internet users in a country.

Sources

Statistics used in the T-Index study were taken from the following reliable Internet based sources.

This study was made in October 2010.

The number of Internet users for each country was taken from the Internet World Stats website which provides up-to-date world Internet statistics: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm. The statistics were up-to-date as of June 30, 2010.

In order to assign each country to a language market, we looked at the most commonly used languages in business, and online, in each country in question. Our worldwide network of freelance translators has also contributed to the project, helping to make it a reliable tool that reflects the reality of each country.

The total population of each country was taken from the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2009 (Washington, DC): https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2119rank.html. The statistics are estimates from the US Census Bureau, July, 2010.

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita data were taken from the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook Database of October, 2010. The data refer to 2010 and is presented in current international dollars. For the countries or territories for which the GDP per capita was not indicated in the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook Database, the data were taken from the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook.

To determine if a country has restricted access to online information, we looked at the ranking given by the international non-governmental organization Reporters without Borders, available on its official website: http://en.rsf.org/internet.html.

The percentage shares of income indicated by quintiles were taken from the online statistical data of the World Bank's Development Research Group: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.DST.05TH.20. Not all the data refer to the same year (the World Bank data are from 1992 to 2008).

This material can be freely reused and shared only if a link back to this page is provided and it is made clear to the user that the data came from the T-Index study. Copy and paste the following statement:

T-Index Study, 2010 www.translated.net/en/languages-that-matter-2010. The T-Index Study was carried out by Translated, a translation agency whose fast and easy professional service is completely Internet-based. Translated was founded in 1999 and already serves 12,881 customers worldwide.

Credits

Many thanks to all the people that provided us useful data or tips (in alphabetical order)

Contacts

For all further information, please contact aurore@translated.net

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