The 5 most valuable foreign languages for your business in 2021

16 June 2021

The 5 most valuable foreign languages for your business in 2021

Foreign language uptake is an ongoing global popularity contest, and every few years, the languages on the list change. 

Inside a company, foreign language use looks like hiring multi-lingual employees and developing a customer-facing talent pool that knows how to address non-English speaking customers. Hint: customizing brand experiences by facilitating customer service in your customer’s native language is an excellent way to create loyalty and encourage repeat custom.

Outside a company, or rather, in marketing a company’s image to the outside world, foreign language use starts with research activities like identifying the highest paying and most popular languages. Companies then use this knowledge to paint a picture of the current economic landscape and gain valuable insights for marketers developing content for global markets. 

More money means more spending power, so finding the sweet spot where popularity meets earning potential can help companies decide which foreign languages contribute to their growth goals, and which language to target next as part of their brand localization strategy.  

Read on for the top languages to learn and use in 2021, and why they’re in-demand:

Arabic 

We’ve said it before, but the fact remains; Arabic is one of the most critical future languages you can learn and use professionally. Outside the Middle East and in countries like the UK, companies are jumping on the Arabic-speaking bandwagon and looking for ways to leverage Arabic in 2021. Showing up in new employment opportunities, and content marketing choices, global companies are hungry to access the Arab World and benefit from one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

English 

With 1.35 billion people speaking English worldwide in 2021, English remains the most spoken language in the world, so from a cultural and business perspective, the global spread of English remains one of its most valuable features. Learning English for your profession, and being able to read and access the  English-speaking internet (60.4% of the world’s top websites are in English) is still a key skill that opens doors. That’s why year on year native and second language English use continues to be popular. 

German 

In post-Brexit Europe, “British companies need to learn to navigate their relationships with EU customers without being able to rely on employing EU nationals to fulfil their language needs.” And, with the largest national economy in the world, Germany is a global player worth engaging in their native German tongue. German is also spoken by 36% of all EU citizens, and is considered one of the top three languages used in the EU. From an employment perspective, Germany is a foreign talent magnet, and the German system demands all those who settle in Germany learn to speak German, making it a valuable language for not only businesses but individuals too. 

French 

According to the Ministry of France, French is the only language apart from English that is taught in every country in the world. Like its neighbor Germany,  France is an economic titan, and French is one of the most widely used languages in international business communication. According to a popular study by economists Albert Saiz and Elena Zoido, people who speak French can expect to be paid a salary of up to 2.7% more than their non-French speaking counterparts. 

Chinese Simplified (Mandarin) 

Sitting just behind English with over 1.12 billion Chinese Mandarin speakers worldwide, 2021 is a strong year for China, and Chinese Mandarin, a language spoken globally by 1 out of every 6 people. International business is a hallmark of the leading Chinese market, and the demand for Chinese Mandarin translation is symbolic of the epic growth China has experienced in recent years. In order for big corporations to get a foot in the door in Asia, they need to be able to sell and service in the language of the land. 

What are you waiting for? 

Whether you’re planning to introduce your brand to a new market, preparing to launch a product line, or deciding to move abroad for work, keeping track of the latest language trends is an easy way to discover growth opportunities and take advantage of the key economic challenges presented by events like Brexit, and the digital revolution triggered by the recent pandemic.

If you’re interested in the power of a foreign language for business but you’re not sure where to start, contact us today and let us help you decide which language to localize your content first.