Report Warns Of Limitations With English-Only Web Sites

U.S. firms that want to reap the benefits of worldwide e-commerce must address the fact that their mostly-English Web sites may not tap the booming market of non-English-speaking users. "Increasing worldwide Internet penetration eliminates distance as a trade barrier, but intensifies the need to overcome the last remaining obstacle in globalization -- language," says Amy Basta, content services analyst for Allied Business Intelligence Inc. and author of its new report Language Translation 1999: World Market Assessment, Methodologies, and Integrated Solutions. Between now and 2004, the number of worldwide Internet subscriptions is expected to rise by more than 20% yearly. Currently, an estimated 80% of the material on the Web is in English. As firms seek to close the language gap, the language translation market will nearly double -- from more than $11 billion in 1999 to around $20 billion in 2004 -- says the report. The market includes human translation, machine translation, and software and Web site localization (modification to suit specific locations).

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