You may be familiar with the English Proficiency Index (EPI). Published by Education First, the EPI is a yearly ranking of countries based on the English language skills of its denizens. At Nimdzi we cite it frequently – it is a good source of information (and inspiration for more in-depth country research too). For instance, the EPI can give you an indication of how far a country has come, or has yet to go, in its insertion to the global economy. After all, English is still the measuring stick for global business.
We at Nimdzi believe, however, that businesses should not stop at English as their only language, especially when going global is the next logical step in the company’s evolution. In fact, you might want to start considering additional language markets as early as possible, to avoid some of the issues that may arise later. Nimdzi covered the different approaches of going global in a two-part InfoDrop series – check them out here and here.
Let’s dig deeper into what the EPI tells us and why your business should be thinking multilingual out of the box.
English is the top language for business and the de facto language of globalization and internet communication.
Consider the following:
You could argue that the very existence of the EPI underscores the importance of the English language. Still, one needs to look at the EPI for what it is.
When looking at the EPI, it’s important to keep in mind country EPI scores do not directly correlate with improved sales for your product or predict what your user base is going to look like.
Still, there are a few useful observations when you analyze the figures:
Think a moment on how lower EPI scores may lead to potentially damaging consequences for your English-centric business – consumers misunderstanding your message or downright rejecting it because they are less likely to buy your product if it’s not localized.
However, this should be precisely the reason you go all-in for localization.
While English is the leading language for business and the EPI serves to underline its importance, we advocate for businesses to think multilingual, as soon as they possibly can.
The languages rounding out the top 10 should probably feature on your list of languages driving your business’ growth. As per the T-Index data:
A few key facts you should be paying attention to:
Virtually every startup will face the question of which language to localize into sooner or later. Do your homework – understand your product and potential user base and go from there. Do not solely rely on English only to support your international growth. Tools such as the EPI should remain tools helping you make educated business decisions, not drive them.
Consider multilingual expansion as early as you can. The question ceased to be whether you should localize. Now it is a question of which markets to go for first. We at Nimdzi are here to help you make that educated decision.
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