English Still the Lingua Franca of the Developer Web

By | 2017-12-04T23:05:54+00:00 June 17th, 2013|Insights and Analytics|

In a recent Quartz.com article, “English is No Longer The Language of the Web,” author Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, wrote, that the explosive growth in Internet use around the world has dramatically reduced the amount of content in English. It’s a fascinating article, and I recommend you read it to understand his perspective coming from this organization dedicated to giving a voice to people and communities worldwide.

However, I continue to caution that most developer content remains in English. Developers are used to reading technical content in English — and code itself is largely based on English words and English constructs. This highly technical audience does not mind non-localized articles, code samples and training. In fact, I say that they have come to expect it.

That said, as a best practice, we recommend that marketers not assume the same English centricity around marketing efforts. Where there is the opportunity to do localized and geotargeted advertising, along with localized landing pages, we find these yield good results. (This applies particularly well in countries where the local language is particularly important, like, say, France.) A localized marketing campaign is not essential, but it can be at least a valid approach to test. We’ve seen it most effective when promoting local events.

(If you’re interested in reading more from Ethan Zuckerman, check out his new book; the article itself is excerpted from it.)

Image via woodleywonderworks on Flickr; original courtesy NASA.

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