We’re all using apps so much more these days and yet we can forget that many apps are only available in a few languages. With so many people of all different nationalities living in many different countries now, the question of how language inclusive an app is becomes important – what if you can’t use public transport, taxi or even dating apps because they’re not available in your language?
To find out which of all the apps are most language inclusive, language learning app Preply has carried out a new study which ranks the most popular apps, including YouTube, TikTok, Uber, Spotify – according to how language accessible they are. The study also found which apps leave a lot more to be desired when it comes to accessibility.
As a member of the Preply team told Women Love Tech: “Language accessibility is something that often goes unnoticed, but people moving Internationally can often struggle to fit into society due to the language barrier. Whether it’s cultural jokes, conversations at work, chats about pop culture or even country-specific slang, not being able to use apps in their own language can often leave people feeling even more excluded.
“It is important that everyone should have access to, and understand, taxi or public transport apps so they can move around freely without having to worry to end up at the wrong address. As most of us know dating apps can be difficult enough to navigate even when they are in your first language. Without that additional layer of nuance and awareness, they can be even more confusing for second-language users.”
So, here are the Key Findings from this study which ranked the world’s most-used apps by how language accessible they are ????
- YouTube, Google Meets and messaging service Signal, top the list offering between 67 and 73 different languages each.
- Tinder proved to speak the language of love, supporting 56 language options for users.
- Local and traditional languages are offered the least often.
- Not one of the most popular apps offers Welsh, despite it being an official de jure language in the UK.
Statistics for 2022 show that the English language is now spoken by approximately 1.35 billion people worldwide. That’s 17% of the world’s population. However, it is also recognised that approximately 770,000 people in the UK hardly speak English, or do not understand any at all. Between these people and the 3.8 million British adults that speak English as a second language, and the 38% of Brits that speak an additional language, there are a massive number of people who want or need to use their phone in a language other than English.
YouTube, Signal and Google Meets support the most languages in the UK and USA ????
Of the 50 most popular apps in the UK and USA, YouTube ranked No.1 as it can be used by speakers of 73 different languages including popular languages like German, Hindi and Korean, as well as some lesser-known languages such as Laotian, Tamil and Urdu.
The Preply study shows that the more popular an app is, and the longer it has been established, the more language-inclusive it’s likely to be. This is due to the high cost of developing a complicated app with a wide variety of language options. YouTube, which has the most inclusive language app, was launched in 2005 and is worth $500 billion, so clearly has a large amount of capital available to invest in offering many languages.
Taxi please! ????
Of all the travel apps in the UK, Uber is the most language inclusive, with 37 different languages available, including Vietnamese, Slovak and Japanese. Bolt comes in a close second, offering 34 different languages, while the Trainline app lags behind with only ten languages available, all of which are European.
Which apps will help you find a multilingual lover ????
Tinder is the most language-inclusive dating app offering 56 languages in total, meaning more people can swipe left and right in search of a match compared to any other app. In fact, Tinder also offers the third most languages of any app across all genres in the US app store. It’s followed closely by Gmail, which has 55 languages to choose from.
The increasingly popular US dating app Hinge is only available in one language, English, meaning the 8.6% of the American population who are not fluent in the language aren’t able to use the app to find love.
What language is the most supported online? ????????
As expected, English is the language offered on 100% of the most popular apps in the UK and USA, given it is the first language of most residents.
- French is the next most available language, available on 78% of the top 50 most popular apps in the UK. This is unexpected, as there are less than 200,000 french speakers in the UK (0.3% of the population).
- German and Italian follow closely, both available on 76% of the apps.
- Other frequently available options include Dutch, simplified Chinese, and Polish (which is the most widely spoken immigrant language by over half a million people).
- French is also the second most available language option in the US. However, it’s only available on 76% of the top 50 most popular apps in America.
- Spanish is offered on 74% of the apps, which isn’t surprising considering the US is home to over 41 million native Spanish speakers.
- Portuguese and German are both offered on over 70% of the apps.
Local and traditional languages are unlikely to be offered ????????????????????????????????????
Despite it being an official de jure language in the UK, zero of the fifty most popular apps in the UK offer Welsh. As well, the Austronesian language of Tagalog is only available on one app in the UK: Instagram. Uzbek, most frequently spoken in Uzbekistan, is only available on the food collection app Too Good To Go, while native Irish speakers can only use Whatsapp out of the 50 most popular apps in the UK.The Bantu languages spoken by around 240 million speakers in 27 African countries are not available on any of the most popular apps in the UK. Neither is Kabyle, Hausa, Turkmen or Uighur.
About Preply: Preply is a global language learning marketplace which connects 140,000 tutors with tens of thousands of students all over the world. It was founded in 2012 and Preply is working to shape the future of effective learning.
Methodology: Preply collected data from the top 50 free apps on the Apple App Store in the US and UK, plus the popular apps page on the app store within the UK, US, Spain, France, Italy, Australia and Germany to understand which apps support the most languages. This has been broken down for each language to gain a combined number of languages for each app. Languages have then been analysed to understand which language is supported the most by totaling the number of times each language is supported within the 50 apps to see which one comes out on top.
For more info you can visit the original study here.
For more from Women Love Tech on Apps, visit here.