With our ongoing curiosity for language trends — see our article on the words that may define 2020, note that this was written before the COVID-19 outbreak fully developed, so you won’t see social distancing or support bubbles making the list — we thought we’d take a deep dive into Google search language trends to see what piqued our interest.
Top English language Google searches over the last 12 months
With Google being the main search engine around the world it clocks up some impressive usage figures. There has been an average of 6.9 billion searches on Google every day so far throughout 2020, and the preeminent search engine has 2.5 trillion searches per year worldwide.
Throughout this article we’ve included some of the most popular Google Trends language searches from the last 12 months.
The search term ‘language learning with Netflix’, bears out the widespread nature of English around the world, and its enduring popularity as the language of business.
It appears many people are actively attempting to learn English by watching English language TV shows and films on Netflix.
1.75 billion people speak English at a conversational level — that’s around one in four of the global population. No wonder there has been such an increase in people wanting to learn English if they want to communicate with such a huge amount of people, or even consume some amazing TV and film content!
The fact that there have been so many searches for ‘language learning with Netflix’ specifically, perhaps shows the value of informal language learning, rather than committing to a formal programme of study at a language school.
It might also just come down to accessibility. With an internet connection and the ability to pay for Netflix, at around £5 a month for a basic subscription, language learners can save a significant amount, considering the minimum cost of an English lesson globally is around $5.
The second highest search during this period was for ‘the oldest language in India’. This represents the interest Indians have for languages, as seen later in this article and perhaps a growing understanding by businesses that country doesn’t equal language, at least not the most common language.
There has also been a growing interest in free language learning apps, although this rise in popularity doesn’t rival that of informal language learning via Netflix. This growing trend might have developed during lockdown when people had much more time on their hands, due to not commuting, or being furloughed from their jobs.
This interest is also likely to have its roots in business. With the ever increasing level of travel restrictions being put in place, businesses continue to need to develop new ways of maintaining international collaboration and to find new ways of communicating during COVID-19, between offices and with partners.
The next highest search is ‘total languages in India’ which, given the fact that the search is in the English language, could indicate that there is a significant interest in business opportunities across the subcontinent.
It may be that businesses looking to expand to the Indian market are curious as to how many languages they might need to translate their content to. The popularity of the search might also be owed to the legacy of the English language in India, as a holdover of colonialism.
English is the second language for many speakers in India and that fact helps connect Indian companies to the global market. Although businesses targeting the Indian market wouldn’t struggle by communicating in English, there would be huge scope for increased penetration by localising into numerous local languages, especially Hindi, Bengali, and Marathi — the most widely spoken languages in the country.
Highest global language-related searches
The following countries have shown the most interest in language-related searches over the previous 12 months. In Thailand, the search popularity for language-related keywords is 100, which is almost double that of second-place Indonesia who show an interest in “language” of 54.
Here’s how Google explains search popularity: “A higher value means a higher proportion of all queries, not a higher absolute query count. So, a tiny country where 80 per cent of the queries are for “bananas” will get twice the score of a giant country where only 40 per cent of the queries are for ‘bananas’.”
What this means is that while Thailand and Indonesia don’t have the highest search figures for language in real terms, they have the most interest adjusted per capita.
Lowest global language-related searches
French-speaking Caribbean Islands, Barthélemy, often referred to as St. Barts and Martinique, along with France and Réunion, a French-speaking island off the coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, show the least interest in language-related searches online. This perhaps suggests that French speakers are proud of their language and culture.
As a remote island, Réunion is sequestered from much of the world which might explain the lack of need for Google language-related searches.
Language translation services
Get in touch with us today for language translation services, whether you are looking to expand into an overseas market, or improve your marketing materials in an existing market.
We can promise a fast turnaround and accurate translations no matter the project. See the languages we have experience translating. So far, we’re at 280 and counting…