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European Commission publishes results of SME survey on multilingual websites

Between March and May 2021, the European Commission (EC) invited small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across Europe to participate in a survey on multilingual websites. Organised and promoted by DG CNECT in cooperation with DG GROW, the open consultation aimed to shed some light on the SMEs’ current interests, needs and existing solutions when it comes to website translation. In total, more than 1000 respondents shared their views and expectations with the EC, with the majority representing South and Central European Member States, such as Italy (37.9% of the respondents), Poland (12.0%) and Spain (10.5%). 

The survey showed that while English remains the prevalent language on SMEs’ websites (almost 60%), the provision of multilingual content is already playing an important role, as only one third of the respondents is currently hosting a monolingual website. The remaining respondents describe how their website translation is handled: the website is translated internally (34%), by external translation providers (23%) or using a machine translation solution (14%). 

According to the participating SMEs, expanding the language coverage of their websites may even boost the European economy: on average, they expect an increase in turnover by more than 30%. But which languages

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are on their wish list? Almost 45% would be interested in translating their websites into German, followed by English (40%), French (38%) and Spanish (30%). For non-EU languages, Russian is leading the list (24%) – and the good news is that all these languages are already covered by the Commission’s free machine translation system eTranslation

 

 

Overall, the consultation showed that European SMEs have a clear need for multilingual website translation, regardless of their location or business sector. This need could be addressed by European language service providers and complemented by public solutions like eTranslation. That said, it is no surprise that 75% of the interviewees were interested in joining the European Commission’s subsequent pilot, which aims at making their website automatically multilingual. 

For further details please have a look at the full report on the SME survey on multilingual websites here. It is also available in all EU official languages, as well as in Icelandic and Norwegian – thanks to machine translation! 🙂