The Power of Multilingual Content
In continuing our conversation on dismantling dominant cultures, it’s important to address the critical timing of incorporating multilingual content in our everyday lives and work.
The next few decades are expected to result in the most drastic demographic shifts the United States has experienced in decades. Taking Census Bureau data from 2018, the Center for Immigration studies determined that in that same year, over 67 million U.S. residents used a language other than English at home, a number they say has doubled since 1990. Pew Research Center projects that by 2050, 1 in every 5 Americans will be foreign-born. By 2050, it is estimated the United States will be the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
The face of the average American is rapidly shifting, along with the way they will communicate. And it won’t just be in Spanish. Take this health care study published just this year, concluding that U.S. healthcare facilities “are speaking a broader array of languages than ever before,” including Hmong, Arabic, Mandarin, Swahili, Vietnamese, Russian, and Korean, just to name a few.
Now, we aren’t saying that English will be useless or extinct in the coming decades. But we are saying that if you haven’t started incorporating multilingual content into your marketing, branding and public platforms, there is no better time to get started than today.
It doesn’t matter if you yourself don’t speak multiple languages, but it does matter if your website or marketing material doesn’t. Consumer content provided in various languages is important in every aspect of our daily lives. It’s the way people can get lifesaving healthcare, vote for their ideal representatives, and become consumers of brands they see communicate directly with them.
From a business perspective, a multilingual presence paves the easiest path to a larger client base, more sales, increased revenue and so much more. Take for example Limited English proficiency (LEP) consumers, people who know English but not fluently, meaning they still communicate primarily in their native tongue. A whopping 70% of these consumers are Hispanic and Asian Americans, representing $3 trillion in buying power.
Take it from the consumers themselves. For example, 76% of online shoppers prefer to buy online in their native language, and 40% never even buy from websites in other languages. Websites are low-hanging fruit, the easiest and most direct first step to take when implementing multilingual functions.
When you choose to speak someone’s language, not only do you heighten the chances of attracting new clients and consumers, but you maintain loyalty by doing so and expand your consumer base to widths once unimaginable. For consumers, it shows compassion that they likely weren’t able to find anywhere else, a personal touch that keeps them coming back. It really is the easiest win-win scenario for the people, the community, and your business.
As we continue to engage in the fight against dominant culture, the barrier of language is one of the easiest to tear down and something we, as clients, consumers, and service providers, have direct power to change, literally with the touch of a button.