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Nearly Half of Global Consumers Frustrated by the English Language Dominance of the Internet and Technology

Nine in ten consumers feel brands must show their understanding and appreciation of national identity, culture and languages

CHALFONT SAINT PETER, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nearly half (44%) of global consumers are frustrated by the dominance of the English language on the internet and technology, a new report by RWS has revealed.

The world-leading provider of technology-enabled language, content and IP services questioned 6,500 consumers from 13 countries around the globe to uncover their sentiment and trust towards brands when it comes to appreciating their national identity.

The survey revealed that nine in ten consumers (88%) feel strongly that brands must show their understanding and appreciation of national identity, culture and languages - but only 23% feel brands understand their cultural needs and priorities.

At a time when technology is accelerating global integration of cultures, RWS’s research shows that consumers are looking to maintain connections with their local culture and emphasize their national identity.

When it comes to national identity, 71% of people told RWS they identify and take great pride in their nation’s history, culture and language.

This peaks at 94% for Indians, 91% for Kenyans, 90% for Nigerians and 90% for Ghanaians, with a significant proportion of people from Britain (75%) and the USA (73%) proud of their national identity too. What’s more, the research shows it’s the younger generation leading the way in celebrating their heritage, with almost half of consumers aged 18-34 expressing a great deal of pride in national identity and culture (49%).

The trust consumers hold towards brands is influenced by their knowledge and understanding of national and local cultures. Yet only 6% of consumers in Japan, 7% in South Korea, 12% in France and 15% in Germany and 17% in the UK feel that brands actually demonstrate this local understanding and appreciation. Interestingly, this sentiment rises to over half for all Indian consumers (56%).

Maria Schnell, Chief Language Officer at RWS, commented on the findings: “Globalization is softening national borders and creating an international marketplace without boundaries. Its core enabler is technological innovation, which is in theory facilitating the rise of a global community. However, as RWS’s ‘Unlocking Global Understanding’ research demonstrates, this seems to be contributing to cultural homogenization, led by the dominance of the English language.

“Our findings show the importance of local cultures, communities and languages in the formation of people’s identities. For the most part, consumers feel international brands are taking a generalized approach and failing to recognize the cultural nuances which consumers highly value.

“Brands need to respect culture and context when engaging with different audiences. This appreciation will open up their access to local communities, lead to the exchange of culture and ideas and ultimately contribute to the rise of a global, yet culturally diverse community of consumers. After all, it is our differences which define us.”

To find out more about how to create content that connects, download your copy of RWS’s report ‘Unlocked 2023: In Understanding We Trust.'

About RWS
RWS Holdings plc is a unique, world-leading provider of technology-enabled language, content and intellectual property services. Through content transformation and multilingual data analysis, our unique combination of technology and cultural expertise helps our clients to grow by ensuring they are understood anywhere, in any language.

Our purpose is unlocking global understanding. By combining cultural understanding, client understanding and technical understanding, our services and technology assist our clients to acquire and retain customers, deliver engaging user experiences, maintain compliance and gain actionable insights into their data and content.

We work with over 80% of the world’s top 100 brands, more than three-quarters of Fortune’s 20 ‘Most Admired Companies’ and almost all of the top pharmaceutical companies, investment banks, law firms and patent filers. Our client base spans Europe, Asia Pacific and North and South America. Our 65+ global locations across five continents service clients in the automotive, chemical, financial, legal, medical, pharmaceutical, technology and telecommunications sectors.

Founded in 1958, RWS is headquartered in the UK and publicly listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (RWS.L).

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Denis Davies
Corporate Communications

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Last Updated: 07-Feb-2023