Have you ever wondered what the most spoken languages ​​in the world are? For which languages ​​are specific language translations required? It may not surprise you to know that English translations come first. Obvious answer, right? But in second place?

First question: how many languages ​​are spoken in the world in total. Naturally we are talking about languages ​​currently used and widespread. We must naturally and sadly exclude “dead” languages, that is, languages ​​subject to linguistic extinction – for example, Prussian became extinct at the end of the seventeenth century or Livonian in 2013.

According to the famous Canadian linguist Jacques Leclerc, more than 30,000 languages ​​have become extinct in the last 5 millennia.

To date, specialists agree on the number of 7000 for the total languages ​​spoken in the world. In reality, the figure is still debated due to the fact that disputes often arise over the very definition of language. According to scholars, it is difficult to say with mathematical certainty how many languages ​​there are in the world, based on a subtle difference between definitions by language and dialect. According to the Géoconflences website of the ENS de Lyon, a language differs from a dialect by “the degree of official recognition of its status, decreed by the State”.

Furthermore, it is important to immediately make it clear that the ranking of the most spoken languages ​​in the world takes into account not only the number of native speakers, but also its use as a second language or in more specific contexts (such as in the economic, commercial or bureaucratic world). , and its status as a lingua franca.

Beyond English translations… the ranking of the five most spoken languages ​​in the world

5. French

According to the 2021 ranking drawn up by Ethnologue, the Francophone language is in the top 10 and placed in fifth place. From the Indo-European family, spoken in 35 nations for a total of 3.63% of the world population, of which 110 million are native speakers.

Contrary to what one might think, the French language is very widespread and spoken, also thanks to historical periods of colonization and territorial conquests.

4. Spanish

In fourth place we find the Spanish language, of the same family as Napoleon’s language mentioned above. Spoken by 6.94% of the world’s population (around 442 million native speakers) in 23 countries. From the first trades between Spain and the rest of the world, the Spanish language has been the subject of study and mediation precisely in the context of international negotiations and exchanges. Even today, given that there are many countries in the global market where Spanish is spoken, many European and non-European companies require the assistance of Spanish translators. The figure of Spanish translators is necessary in order to make meetings and business profitable and positive.

3. Hindi

Spoken by over 324 million native speakers, spread across 22 states, and shared with 21 other languages ​​in India, Hindi is one of the most spoken languages ​​on the planet. According to hypotheses put forward by The Lancet (2020), India will be the most populous country in the world in 2100, thus overtaking China, currently on the podium. Along with population growth, an economic and commercial surge is also expected for the Indian nation. This has meant that numerous companies and multinationals have started investing in agreements and projects with India, resulting in a growing demand for Hindi translators. Since it is a language far from the Anglo-Saxon lingua franca or any other European language, the intervention of a Hindi translator is necessary for cultural and linguistic mediation to be successful.

2. Mandarin Chinese

Belonging to the Sino-Tibetan language family, Mandarin Chinese is the recognized official language of the PRC. 14.55% of the world population (of which approximately 909 million native speakers) spread across 8 countries speak Mandarin Chinese. Following the economic opening at the end of the 1980s, China began to trade and establish business deals with foreign countries. This resulted in a hyperbolic search for Chinese translators. Since we are dealing with a culture and linguistic strain that is completely different from those we are used to interacting with, the request for a specialized Chinese translator is a more than logical choice.

1. English

The lingua franca par excellence. The English language has enjoyed international success for centuries, thanks to its wide and consolidated use in the business, commercial and economic world. Translations into English are the most requested, precisely because the English language generally acts as a vehicle and linguistic link even between totally opposite languages ​​and cultures. For most international agreements and pacts, translations into English are carried out, to allow higher and more homogeneous accessibility in a neutral way.

LingoYou Press Office

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