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nedjelja, 21. studenoga 2010.

Croatian Language In Internet Business Applications


How many languages does one need to use on the Internet to win the world market? Your English is not enough it seems. If you want to win 99 percent of the world market, then you need to know 37 languages it has been calculated, and among them, rounding off the list, is the Croatian language.

The expansion of electronic markets, which in some stages has become an explosion (but in some on the contrary, significantly slowed down) is the main, but not the only segment of electronic commerce, the so-called e-business, which includes e-publishing, telecommuting, telemedicine, e-education.

Croatian currency, the Kuna.

Language, naturally, remains the main instrument of communication in the e-environment - and almost exclusively in the written form. So far there are no electronic mediums to properly help in this. There are a variety of electronic tools for translating, but none of them are accurate enough to translate even a typical commercial letter accurately - and if you guess at the word, it won't translate accurately enough to present proper definition, letter structure and flow,.

For us in Croatia it wasn't so difficult. We were accustomed to having at various times,  a colonial status through the centuries. Our ancestors - if they wanted to trade - spoke Hungarian, Turkish, Italian, and German, as a colonial market language. Venetian was for a long time a maritime trading language in the eastern Mediterranean, known as the "lingua franca", which is a technical term, and it stayed long after the Venetian navy permanently left. Venice was brought down to the level of a wax mummy without a glass coffin at Disneyland but without the little mermaid. The Lingua franca is English at this time, because of sixty years of study in Croatian schools. But isn't that the way of the whole world, is not English sufficient enough to reach all corners of the e-market?...

...Heavens No!

This is the issue faced by, which is an Italian multinational agency for on-line translation of written material. They were founded in 1999. It claims to have over 47,000 translators and about 11,000 clients in over 110 countries.


The first surprise noticed is that there are 4.5 times more translators than customers. How so? Because they realized that to conduct business on the internet, it takes more than knowledge in 1 language, even if it is English. tested its market, which is truly global, and formulated the "T-index", a statistical indicator that shows what percentage of the market reaches some of the world's languages. If you believe the T-index, English is still a relatively keen language to use in e-business, but it is not an absolute language.

So, for those who "play" in the global market and therefore decide the languages in which to publish their interface and their offers - English is enough to reach just over one third of the world. Half of the world uses three languages, in addition to English, and they are Chinese and Spanish. Added to that are seven languages - Japanese, German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Korean - which reaches approximately 81 percent of the world market.

The Chinese are coming

Furthermore, for the rest it was a little more difficult. To be able to achieve 99 percent coverage of e-business languages, would be needed a total of 37 languages, which also includes Croatian, whose T-index is 0.11%. This is not the final picture however, as is the case of fast moving images. Chinese - written and simplified - is in 2nd place, but given the demographic potential of China and in time more presence on the Internet, it will easily take first place. It won't break some other areas, such as the number of states in which the language is used on the market. Chinese is currently limited to two countries (one of which is the most populous in the world), Spanish, however includes 22, English 21, Arabic 19, French 13 - and we are finished with double-digit figures. Expected is the expansion of Indonesia as well.

Examples of foreign products needing Croatian translation/versions, in this case foreign language movies.

An example of a cartoon being syncronized into Croatian.

An example of subpar synchronization in the English language.

Moreover, these statistics do not take into account the similarities that allow mutually intelligible business contacts. We see only one Norwegian of the two Norwegian languages (boksmaal) which is mutually intelligible with Danish. Another is the growing market of Turkish language (I had students at a seminar where the Turks and students from Azerbaijan communicated to each other using each of their own languages). On the issue of Croatian, it would have a somewhat larger influence than the example mentioned above, and naturally Russian  to a greater extent also.

There are many resources to be found to learn or brush up on speaking/writing Croatian, in this example is an interactive CD-ROM.

These aren't all the factors however, that will be used when deciding which languages you have on a site on the Web. The Menu is very interesting in the last column, which provides information to the internet user, on a groups' grossproduct per capita in some linguistic areas.

How many languages do you know? ...

I do not know the methods used to get the data, so I do not know how reliable the data is - but if it is reliable, then it provides an accurate insight into the purchasing power of customers from different areas. Croatian leapfrogs some more populous languages( Chinese and Portuguese, and even Russian for some finer categories, not to mention the very populous Hindi subcontinent), but also in turn Croatian is below some less populous languages including Catalan Maltese and Icelandic.

Croatian is an option that is being found more often as a language option all over the internet.

So then, it was the Romans who declared, "However many languages one knows, is how many people they are worth".

A few examples of popular magazines translated into Croatian.

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