USA: An unexpected Treasure Chamber in the Translation Market

· 3 min read
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A general saying indicates that people are “going online”. This term has changed nowadays as people tend to “be always online”. Smartphones and other portable devices allow us to stay “always online”. Furthermore, worldwide internet users own 3.6 devices on average.(1) Consequently, the trend of a steadily augmenting mobile internet penetration around the globe cannot be denied. While in 2012 66.8% of the global online population accessed the internet from mobile phones, this number will rise up to more than 90% in 2017, predicts Statista.(2) And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Mobile Trends

In times of internationalization and globalization companies focus on different markets instead of staying local. True to our LingoHub slogan “Be Global, Go Local” let us have a look at the United States of America and sum up some mobile trends:

  • nearly two-thirds of the American population own a smartphone
  • young ones (18 - 29 years old) depend on their smartphones for accessing the internet
  • 30% of the American smartphone-addicts frequently use the maximum data volume they are allowed to use monthly according to their cell phone plan(3)
  • the most common operating system in 2009 was RIM (Research in Motion Limited or Blackberry Limited)
  • Google Android (48%) became the new market leader on the U.S. market in 2012, followed by Apple iOS (32%) and grabbed shares of RIM (12%)(4)

statistic smartphone-operating-systems -us-market-share-2009-2012

Figure 1:

Market share of smartphones in the United States from December 2009 to February 2012, by operating system Reference:

The U.S. Language Diversity

When it comes to software translation and localization one may tend to say that the U.S. market can be fully covered by offering applications, websites and other products exclusively in English.

Let me give you some surprising new insights in the U.S. market:

  • I guess it is a quite popular fact that the second common language spoken in the United States of America is Spanish.
  • More than 20% of the citizens above the age of 5 years do not speak English at home.
  • Surprisingly German and French are the two most common languages after English and Spanish spoken in the United States.

Check out the following map which indicates the (maybe unexpected) language diversity:

slate minority languages

Figure 2: Most Commonly Spoken Language Other than English and Spanish Reference:

Is it sufficient to provide products exclusively in English? Referring to CSA not only the U.S. market is fragmented. The potential for localization and translation thus cannot be denied. To underestimate this let me give you some more stats concerning the language service market. North America maintains its position on the language services market. Following Europe with a market share of 48.75%, North America is ranked second with a market share of 35.77% in 2013. The whole market volume in the same year was US$ 34.778 billion.(5)

And now it’s your turn

You are already an expert when it comes to doing business in or with partners in the United States of America? We would love to hear your stories broadening our blog post. Please feel invited to share your thoughts and experiences with us!






(5) Common Sense Advisory, The Language Service Market, 2013


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