Languages of India
Data recently published by the Census Bureau for 2017 shows roughly half of residents in America’s five largest cities now speak a language other than English at home. While China may have its fair share of the media limelight, economic experts proclaim it’s India we should pay close attention to. According to an article in the Economic Times, India holds the title for the fastest-growing global economy in 2018, and is predicted to maintain that ranking through 2019 – even ahead of China.
Whether you are a company working to leverage a greater global presence in India, or whether you keep your marketing niche here in the United States, your ability to communicate in multiple Indian dialects will keep you ahead of your competitors.
Professional language services help you appeal to the Indian market
Companies who maintain a US-only presence should also pay attention, because in addition to India’s rapid, economic growth, the population of Indians in America is also on the significant rise. As migrationpolicy.org experts state, “In recent decades the [Indian] population [in the U.S.] has grown substantially, with 2.4 million Indian immigrants resident in the United States as of 2015. This makes the foreign born from India the second-largest immigrant group after Mexicans, accounting for almost 6 percent of the 43.3 million foreign-born population.
To best reach these new immigrants and first-generation Indians, you should market your brand in their own language. This means paying close attention to target audience niches to find out more about their regional dialects. Unlike in English-speaking countries, where more-or-less the same “version” of English is spoken across thousands of miles, India has multiple dialects. While you may be familiar with Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil, and Sanskrit, the translation teams here at CCA also work in Bengali, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Gujarati, and Telegu. The target audience’s language of choice relates largely to where they originated from in India. For example:
- Hindi – the most common language spoken, largely spoken in New Delhi and northern India
- Telegu – spoken in the mid- and south-east
- Malayalam – spoken in the very south-west
- Gujarati – spoken in a small section of the central-west
- Kannada – spoken in the south-west
You can view this Map of Languages in India to view the geographic layout of India’s most common languages.
Dialects matter in personalized communication
With the number of Telegu-speaking US residents and citizens rising by 86% between 2010 and 2018, Telegu happens to be the fastest growing Indian language in the US, followed by Arabic and two other Indian languages – Hindi and Urdu, while Gujarati ranks at #6. If your company is only conducting business in the traditional five Indian dialects, you’re missing out on the opportunity to appeal to a millions-strong audience. Since these audiences all speak different languages—some more interchangeable than others—one would be wise to pay attention to India’s linguistic diversity.
Although there are 22 major languages in India, a 1962 census actually established 1652 mother languages inside India’s vast borders. The Indian Rupee has denominations in 18 separate languages/dialects. That would be like printing the US dollar in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Tagalog, and so on. The need to print national money in so many different languages is indicative of how important it is for your company do the same in terms of marketing and negotiating accessibility.
High-quality Indian translations and interpreting is essential
In order to produce translation materials or conduct a conversation using a simultaneous or consecutive interpreter, you need to work with a firm that is known for their impeccable work. There is a wide berth for making unprofessional or embarrassing mistakes when you’re trying to produce flawless materials in the right language.
- Many of the aforementioned Indian languages and dialects have their own alphabet, so you don’t want to make the mistake of using the wrong one.
- You may require separate interpreters to speak with specific groups of people to ensure the interpreters are accurate, fluid and that they communicate the same emotion, nuance and intent as in their original form.
- While many Indian-Americans and business professionals are highly educated and may speak “fluent” English, the most successful communication takes place when we are able to speak/write and listen/read our native language – this is especially true when it comes to communicating in the arenas of technical information, niche information, and sensitive or emotional subject matters.
The ability to communicate within different languages and printed characters allows you to localize marketing efforts and establish a more targeted and personalized rapport with prospects and clients.
You may also want to read our article on what to know when traveling to India on business.
The professional linguists at Chang-Castillo and Associates excel in Indian translation and interpreting services. We’re considered the platinum standard in our industry. Please contact us to learn more about how we can use exceptional language services to help your brand establish credibility and personal engagement both at home and abroad.