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Top Language Choices for Technical Publications

Technical ManualIt is a very well-known fact that English is not the most widely spoken language in the world. Although it is considered as a global language, not everyone can speak it. People from countries with the largest economies of the world, like China, Japan, Germany, France and Brazil, prefer to use their native language as opposed to English. So if you decide to sell your products in areas where English is not the main language, you should provide user/technical manuals in those local languages. Then, you may wonder about the number of languages you need the manual in if your product is offered globally.

Target Areas

The truth is that you will not need the manual in so many languages. Before you make your choice on the preferred languages, you must first consider which areas you are trying to target. For example, if you are targeting only a few countries for your business, then consider only those regions’ languages. But if you want to make your publications available on a global scale, here are some of the top language choices.


China has emerged from a developing economy to become one of powerhouses in the modern world. Yet, the majority of the Chinese population is not familiar with English. That is because Chinese government promotes education in its national language rather than in English.
If you translate your technical publications into Chinese, you can actually reach the largest population on earth while in terms of economic opportunity you can reach approximately 6.1% on a global scale.


Japan has always been a country that is known for its technological development, despite the fact that the country is often affected by natural disasters. By translating your technical publications into Japanese, you can reach out to around 4.5% of the online population. But the economic opportunities or business opportunities that you can generate by translating your technical publications into Japanese is a decent 10.5% owing to the Japanese economic strength.


Only 1.4% of world population speaks German, but the economic opportunities that you can generate using the internet by translating your technical publications into German are as significant as 8.4%. Also, Germans have a reputation of being tech savvy and have a very small tolerance level to technical mistakes. So, make sure that the German version of your technical publications is of very high standards.


The percentage of global population that exclusively speaks French is only 1.5%. But if you have the technical publications of your products translated into French, you can actually target 6.2% in terms of business opportunities.

Brazilian Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese is spoken by the 190 million inhabitants of Brazil. The country offers immediate attractions to new market entrants, such as a consistent and stable economy, built on the development model of a policy adopted by the Brazilian government in the last years. The adopted measures made provision for constant growth with generation of formal employment, better income distribution and ability to absorb external and internal shocks.
Therefore, the market for technical translations in Brazil has become highly specialized since the 90’s due to a scenario of growing number of imports, increasing demand for translation of technical publications, the privatization of large enterprises and globalization.


Around 7% of the world population speaks Spanish. So, that is the third most sought after language for technical manual translation needs. However, the economic opportunities that you can generate by making your technical manual available in Spanish are a decent 7.8%. Also, there are a few variations of the Spanish language that you should consider while having your website translated into Spanish. It is recommended that you discuss about these variations with your translation company before actually going ahead with the job.

Always Localize!

You can look at this scenario in many different ways, but the percentage of target audience who knows English is rapidly decreasing by the day, due to the growing market size. So, it is always a good idea to have your technical publications translated into more than a couple of languages, especially if you are planning to market the product on a global scale. Terralíngua has the technical and scientific expertise to help you translate your publications into several languages.