Languages used on the Internet

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Most web pages on the Internet are in English, with varying amounts of information available in many other languages.

Languages used[edit]

A study made by W3Techs showed that in April 2013, almost 55% of the most visited websites used English as their content language.[1] Other top languages which are used at least in 2% of websites are Russian, German, Spanish, Chinese, French, Japanese, Arabic and Portuguese.

Note that these figures are based on the one million most visited web sites (e.g. 0.27% of the total web sites according to figures of December 2011), according to Alexa.com, and language is identified using only the home page of the sites in most cases. As a consequence, the figures show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites. The figures for all websites are unknown, but some sources estimate below 50% for English – see for instance Towards a multilingual cyberspace.[2]

The number of non-English pages is rapidly expanding. The use of English online increased by around 281% from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743%), Chinese (1,277%), Russian (1,826%) or Arabic (2,501%) over the same period.[3]

Large international organizations, both commercial and non-profit, see the need to reach out to multiple language groups. Microsoft and Google have content in between 40 and 80 languages at their various web sites. Wikipedia is available in 287 languages. The official web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses provides content in over 700 languages.[4] The official website of the Global Recordings Network is available in 15 languages, but provides sample audio recordings in over 6000 languages or dialects.[5]

Content languages for websites[edit]

Estimates of the percentages of Web sites using various content languages as of 12 March 2014:[1]

Content languages for websites as of 12 March 2014[1]
Rank Language Percentage
1 English 55.7%
2 Russian 6.0%
3 German 6.0%
4 Japanese 5.0%
5 Spanish 4.6%
6 French 4.0%
7 Chinese 3.3%
8 Portuguese 2.3%
9 Italian 1.8%
10 Polish 1.7%
11 Turkish 1.3%
12 Dutch 1.3%
13 Arabic 0.8%
14 Persian 0.8%
15 Czech 0.7%
16 Swedish 0.6%
17 Indonesian 0.4%
18 Korean 0.4%
19 Vietnamese 0.4%
20 Romanian 0.4%
21 Greek 0.4%
22 Danish 0.3%
23 Hungarian 0.3%
24 Thai 0.3%
25 Finnish 0.2%
26 Slovak 0.2%
27 Bulgarian 0.2%
28 Norwegian 0.2%
29 Hebrew 0.1%
30 Lithuanian 0.1%
31 Croatian 0.1%
32 Bokmål 0.1%
33 Ukrainian 0.1%
34 Serbian 0.1%
35 Slovenian 0.1%
36 Catalan 0.1%

All other languages are used in less than 0.1% of websites. Even including all languages, percentages may not sum to 100% because some websites contain multiple content languages.

Internet users by language[edit]

Estimates of the number of Internet users by language as of 31 May 2011:[6]

Internet users by language (2011)[6]
Rank Language Internet
users
        
1 English 565,004,000 27%
2 Chinese 509,965,000 25%
3 Spanish 164,969,000   8%
4 Japanese 99,182,000   5%
5 Portuguese 82,587,000   4%
6 German 75,423,000   4%
7 Arabic 65,365,000   3%
8 French 59,779,000   3%
9 Russian 59,700,000   3%
10 Korean 39,440,000   2%
11–36 Others 350,557,000   17%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Usage of content languages for websites". W3Techs.com. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  2. ^ NET.LANG: Towards a multilingual cyberspace, Laurent VAnnini and Hervé le crosnier (eds.), Maaya Network, C&F éditions, March 2012, 446 pp., ISBN 978-2-915825-08-4
  3. ^ Rotaru, Alexandru. "The foreign language Internet is good for business". Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  4. ^ JW.ORG Is Now Read in Over 300 Languages jw.org, October 2013
  5. ^ Global Recordings Network
  6. ^ a b "Number of Internet Users by Language", Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 31 May 2011, accessed 22 April 2012

External links[edit]