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Meet the Top Translated Languages in America

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It is the most requested language in the world, the most spoken language on the planet, with 1.1 billion total speakers, and it’s the first or second official language of more than 20 countries. But what is this language? English! Even so, there are still many people who speak languages other than English as their primary tongue.

It’s no secret that the United States is a beautiful melting pot of diverse cultures and languages. While this may be one of the reasons America is seen as such a desirable place to live, it can also make things more difficult by presenting a major obstacle to clear or effective communication among one another both in-person and in the digital world. Language barriers can be a major problem for individuals and companies alike, but luckily there are many different ways to overcome them. One of the most common is translation services for the more than 350 different languages that exist in America alone. Having a better understanding of the relevancy of different languages within the United States can help one understand the value that different translations can provide to your communication efforts.

Today, we will explore what the most translated languages are in America.

1. Spanish

Spanish Language Translation

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While the most spoken language in the U.S. is English, Spanish has come close to surpassing it. It’s estimated that there are 40.5 million native speakers of Spanish, just in the United States, and it is also one of the most studied languages, with 572 million people speaking it worldwide. The United States also has 12 million bilingual Spanish speakers.

Spanish translation services are especially important for businesses located in or near the U.S.-Mexico border, where Spanish is more widely spoken. But this is not the only advantageous area for Spanish translation services. Many companies produce work for the Hispanic population and Spanish-speaking Americans due to the fact that translating your copy into Spanish has the power to reach 40.5 million people within the United States.

Geography also plays a less significant role as society becomes more technologically advanced where consumers are inundated with digital communications. With a larger digital reach comes a stronger need to produce messages that are embraced by as many targeted people as possible, and that includes those who speak Spanish.

When you translate your message into Spanish, you award the Spanish-speaking population the opportunity to better comprehend the message of your product, service, or company. Because of the language’s popularity, the demand for Spanish translation services in the United States is very high with a high reward of success in return.

2. Chinese

Chinese Language Translation

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The third-most spoken language in America is Chinese, reaching almost 3 million people in total. Chinese has been spoken in the United States since the mid-1800s, but Chinese immigration only started to pick up after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This act removed race and nationality as criteria for immigration, making it easier for new immigrants to come to America. As a result, more than one million Chinese-speaking people immigrated from countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Chinese translation services can help businesses reach almost three million native Chinese speakers in the U.S. as well as the huge English-speaking population. This is important for companies that produce or sell products or services in both English and Chinese. While you can find Chinese-speaking citizens in any state across the country, there is a higher concentration in California, New York, and Texas.

Chinese translation companies can offer their clients a wealth of knowledge about the language, including different writing systems, grammar, and cultural norms. Chinese translation services can also be very helpful for people who are learning the language or need to translate materials in it.

3. French

French Language Translation

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French is the fourth-most spoken language in America with just over one million speakers. Like Spanish, it was brought to this country by immigrants from France. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars led to a wave of immigrants coming to America from France. Aside from English, French is the other official language of Canada, which explains why this bordering country is filled with French-speaking natives, and that travel has increasingly influenced the presence of the French language in America.

If you want to reach the French-speaking population of America, then this is an important language for your company or organization to include. French translation services can provide the needed expertise to produce marketing materials and communications in the language for this demographic.

By including a French translation for your next communication project, your audience will be able to better understand the message of the material and may even become more receptive because of the language’s European roots. One should never underestimate the power of the French language or the potential impact of including it in your marketing plan to reach audiences that historically may have been left out.

4. Italian

Italian Language Translation

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Interestingly, the word ‘America’ is actually rooted in the Italian language, named after Amerigo Vespucci, who explored and discovered that North and South America were actually disconnected units of land that were not connected with Asia. History aside, Italian is the fifth-most spoken language in America with just over one million speakers here. Like Spanish and French, the language began and continues to be brought to this country by immigrants from Italy. Today, the language is spoken by nearly 80 million people worldwide.

Italian translation services can help you reach just over one million Italian speakers in the U.S. that are sometimes overlooked by only including Spanish, Chinese, and French translations. This is important for companies that produce or sell products and services in the language or have historically only faced a language barrier as a roadblock to communicating their value to native Italian speakers. Continuing to work to remove the language barrier between your organization’s product and services may be the difference between acquiring new customers and being the company that native Italian speakers continue to ignore.

5. German

German Language Translation

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German is the sixth-most spoken language in America with just over one million speakers in this country. It’s an important language for a number of reasons, including its wide use and frequency on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter as the age of information overload in the digital world continues to accelerate.

German translation services are offered by many companies to reach more than one million native German-speaking Americans. If you’re interested in reaching Americans with German heritage or someone who is learning the language, this service can be very helpful.
German translation services are also important for businesses that operate in both the U.S. and Germany or companies that sell products or services to these markets. These businesses need to be able to speak the language of their customers as well as potential consumers. Just because it’s not within the top 5 most requested languages for translations doesn’t mean adopting this language will have no impact on your future translations. Incorporating German should be part of your marketing and communication plan as the language continues to grow in the U.S., as seen year after year.

6. Japanese

Japanese language Translation

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Japanese, while possibly underrated, is a heavily spoken language in America with just over one million speakers. It’s one of the only non-European languages among the top 15 languages requested for translations, which can be attributed to Japan’s proximity and trade relations with the U.S.

Japanese translation services are an important way of reaching these Americans who speak the native tongue or those who are learning the language. Those who are interested in the culture and the country may also be interested in the translation service to read literature that is written in the native tongue or learn more about a tradition of an artist’s heritage.
Another interesting language fact is that very few people in Japan speak English. In fact, as little as two percent speak English fluently, while more than 70 percent are unable to speak any English at all. This reinforces the significance of prioritizing a translation into the Japanese language.

Japanese translation services are the best means of reaching out to the Japanese-speaking audience in both the United States and globally, and can also help companies establish important trade relations with U.S. partners, customers, distributors, and suppliers as this demographic continues to grow in the U.S.

Translation services for Japanese can also benefit the U.S. economy by helping the country maintain its competitive edge in the market with other countries to communicate the value of the company’s products or services.

7. Portuguese

Portuguese Language Translation

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Another popular language that is commonly translated in the U.S. is Portuguese, with just over one million speakers. This makes it the second-most spoken Latin American language in the country, after Spanish.

As the demographics of the U.S. continue to shift, with more Latin American immigrants and their children, this language will continue to grow in the U.S.

Portuguese translation services are the best way for businesses that operate internationally, or those with cultural ties to the country, to reach the U.S.-based Portuguese population. Portuguese translation services are also important for the tourism industry as the number of U.S. residents who visit the country continues to rise.

To be successful at communicating in Portuguese, you’ll need a translation service that has a pristine understanding of some of its unique usages and variations among different demographics.

For example, in both Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, it is common to use their pronouns. A notable example would be them using “eu” instead of “eu mesmo” when talking about themselves. In Brazil, another common usage is the verbal pronoun “você,” which sounds a little more formal than “to” and is widely used in place of it. These are just two small examples that demonstrate how important it is to find a high-quality, professional translation service to translate the myriad of different usages in the Portuguese language.

How Professional Translation Services Can Help Your Business

Professional Translation Services Can Help Your Business

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Now you know what the most translated languages are in America!

If you find yourself often looking for the top languages that are requested to be translated in the U.S., keep this list handy to ensure you do not miss any crucial languages in your future communication efforts. For example, we discussed how incorporating German should be part of your marketing and communication plan as the language continues to grow in the U.S. as seen year after year. These types of translation services for all of the languages discussed have the power to benefit the U.S. economy by helping maintain its competitive edge against other countries when communicating the value of a company’s products or services to all who could use them.

The most requested languages for translation in the U.S. are difficult to track and the list can change year to year, so it is important to work with trusted providers. We collect our own data, for example, so we can help our clients with industry insights.

If you want help understanding the top languages being translated or need assistance translating your content into another language, a professional translation services company like Telelanguage can help.

Our team has years of experience working with different cultures as well as expert knowledge on the nuances that come with each individual language. Our translation professionals will be able to provide accurate, high-quality translation and interpretation services according to your company’s needs. Contact us for a free consultation.

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