Whenever I talk about localization, people often ask me the same question: “Is it true that most people understand English?” My answer is yes, many people DO understand English, but when deciding whether to localize your websites and apps, it’s the PREFERENCE of your potential users that counts.
Especially in today’s world where there are lots of cool websites and apps out there for people to choose from, people are likely to choose the option that they are most comfortable with and for a lot of the time, language preference is a key determining factor.
In this blog post, I am going to use Facebook as an evidence to show that a lot of top countries do have a very strong preference for local language.
To give you more background information, in a previous blog post, we have already analyzed the language breakdown for the top 5 Facebook countries outside the US. Countries discussed include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and United Kingdom. And from the analysis, one can clearly see the strong preference for local language.
In this blog post, we will continue with the list to discuss about the number of users by language for the remaining top 10 Facebook countries outside the US. And from reading the charts below, you can see how the strong preference for local language continues down the list for the top Facebook countries.
Top Languages on Facebook in Turkey
Turkey, the 6th largest market after the United States, shows a strong preference of local language. Over 30 million (97.1%) users in Turkey have chosen Turkish as their default language to browse Facebook. Although US English is already the second most popular language, it only has roughly 0.5 million (1.6%) users.
Top Languages on Facebook in Philippines
When looking at Philippines, the 7th largest market outside the US, the situation is a bit different. Although Filipino (or Tagalog) is the native language of a lot of people in Philippines, only around 1% of the Facebook population in Philippines has chosen Filipino as their default language. Instead, US English and UK English combined has over 27.7 million (98.3%) users.
Top Languages on Facebook in France
France, the 8th largest market in the list also shows a strong preference for local language like Turkey. Over 22.6 million (93.3%) Facebook users in France are browsing Facebook in French. US English, which is the second most popular language, has roughly 0.7 million (2.8%) users. Other minority languages chosen by users include Spanish (0.5%) and Turkish (0.3%).
Top Languages on Facebook in Germany
Moving down the list to Germany, the preference for local language continues. Over 21.3 million (90.3%) Facebook users in Germany are browsing Facebook in German. Languages that are next on the list include US English (4%), UK English (1.1%) and Turkish (1.1%).
Top Languages on Facebook in Italy
Italy, the 10th largest country after the US, also shows a strong preference for local language. Over 20.2 million (92.7%) Facebook users in Italy prefer to browse Facebook in Italian. Languages that are next on the list include US English (2.7%), UK English (0.9%), Spanish (0.6%), French (0.6%), Romanian (0.6%) and German (0.5%).
Strong Preference for Local Language
From looking at the language breakdown for the top 10 Facebook countries, one can clearly see the strong preference for local language.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, the Facebook App Center is now available worldwide. Any websites or mobile apps that use Facebook Connect are eligible to be listed on the Facebook App Center. So if you are planning to leverage Facebook to grow your websites or mobile apps, you should consider localizing your app into the top languages on Facebook.
Facebook has made it easy for developers to post localized content for their apps. For the detailed process of configuring your apps, go to the tutorial on App Center Internationalization provided by Facebook for developers.
Written by Amanda Wong
Amanda heads Customer Success at OneSky. Her interests include growth hacking, customer success, analytics or simply anything related to growth.