World Companies Ignore Foreign Customers

Almost 90% of the world's top companies fail to respond adequately to foreign language email messages, despite a continual increase in the variety of languages used by Internet users.

According to the Third WorldLingo and International Data Corporation (IDC) Email Language Survey, most of the world's 244 largest companies do not respond effectively to email messages that are not in their native language.

The email messages were written in the following languages - German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, or English.

The Third Email Language Survey produced an increase in the response rate (11.06%) in comparison to the inaugural (9.34%) and second (8.9%) quarterly Email Language Survey.

A response is deemed to be correct if a reply is sent in the same language as the original email, and the question asked in the request email is answered correctly.

The increased response rate from Survey Three can be contributed to the fact that English was included as a language for the first time.

English email messages sent to countries that have a native language other than English received a correct response rate of 44.44%.

There was a dramatic drop to the next best language response rate, which was to email messages written in German (23.33%).

IDC researcher Steve McClure said the results indicated that the world's biggest companies are not prepared to handle the growing number of non-English speaking Internet users, which now make up over half of all Internet users.

"What this reflects is a lack of global literacy among companies that ought to know better," Mr. McClure said.

"This will become more important because the demographics of ecommerce are shifting away from the US, thus becoming more multilingual."

The worse response rates came from companies in Australia (0%), Japan (7.5%), and The USA (8.00%).

The UK (13.04%) and Germany (12.5%) were only marginally better. The best response rates came from France (25%) and Italy (21.05%).

The companies that did not respond at all to the email were some of the world's corporate heavy weights.

They include Wal-Mart Stores (US), Ford Motor (US), BP Amoco (UK), Daimler Chrysler (German), and Mitsui and Co (Japan).

Over the three surveys, Italian companies have recorded the best response average (24.41%), while email messages written in Spanish recorded the best response average to a foreign language email (18.04%).

WorldLingo, an online language translation company, has an inexpensive and time efficient solution to email translation, according to Phil Scanlan.

Mr. Scanlan, WorldLingo's Chairman, said the email message could have been answered correctly and quickly using WorldLingo's low cost email translation service. The service is easily integrated into existing mail systems.

"After implementing WorldLingo's translation system, the company will automatically receive a machine translation of the foreign language email, allowing the receiver to ascertain the importance of the message," he said.

"If the message is deemed important enough to be human translated, the company can accept WorldLingo's automatic quote which is provided with each translation."


About WorldLingo

WorldLingo is a leading provider of integrated, online translation solutions. The company's services range from cost effective machine translation solutions, to professional human translation and culturally sensitive localization. A global network of over 5,000 professional translators produces human translations. WorldLingo also offers unique, real-time translation solutions for two-way email and instant messaging. These solutions make it easy for businesses and professionals to interact with internal and external multilingual audiences anywhere in the world. By combining accurate and cost effective translation, WorldLingo is taking great strides towards breaking down language barriers in the world of commerce.

WorldLingo produces thousands of translations every day. Clients include AT&T, Sony, Eli Lilly, Belkin, Cadbury Schweppes, Qualcomm, Priceline, and Tribal DDB. WorldLingo is also an official supplier of translation services to the European Union. In addition, Microsoft has integrated WorldLingo's technology into Office XP and Word 2002. WorldLingo is a global organisation with offices in the US, Australasia and Europe.

For more information: contact WorldLingo