English is the most widely spoken language in the world, with the third-largest number of native speakers, after Standard Chinese and Spanish. That’s because in addition to the nearly 400 million people whose first language is English, it has evolved into a global lingua franca – a common language that is used all over the world for business, diplomacy, and all sorts of other high-level communications.
English translators can help you connect with worldwide audiences faster than nearly any other language. As the British Empire grew in size and influence, English became an official language in countries all over the globe, in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Australia as well as Europe. Today, many of these countries have kept English as their primary language, while a number of others retain it as one of several official languages, or rely on it as a shared second language to bridge linguistic or cultural divides between different ethnic groups.
As a result of this wide diffusion, different dialects of English have evolved over time in the various continents and regions where it is spoken. While these dialects remain generally mutually intelligible, they do have significant differences and it is important to choose a native speaker of each regional variant of English when preparing English translations.
The countries with the most significant populations of native English speakers are the United States, which has the largest number of native English speakers in the world, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These variants of English, especially UK and US English, set the standard for English language instruction in countries where it is taught as a second language. Other countries with sizeable populations of native English speakers and unique variants of English include, among others, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, as well as several countries in the Caribbean, such as the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and more. In total, over 50 countries count English as one of their official languages.
Chinese-English / English-Chinese
Danish-English / English-Danish
French-English / English-French
German-English / English-German
Hindi-English / English-Hindi
Italian-English / English-Italian
Portuguese-English / English-Portuguese
Spanish-English / English-Spanish
Swedish-English / English-Swedish
Because of this incredible plurality of native or near-native speakers, English has become one of the most widely taught languages in the world. This means that even people residing in countries where English is not an official or major local language are often likely to have received some English instruction in school or through their work. Even if they haven’t, its prevalence on the Internet, in mainstream music, and in Hollywood’s exports around the world nearly guarantee some level of exposure. As a result, it’s never a bad idea to start with English translations when planning a multi-lingual project. For more detailed targeting, choose the regional variant of that best matches your intended audience to speak to them directly – they’ll appreciate it.
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