The European Commission is calling for Internet companies to offer multi-lingual web sites in a bid to give the US a run for its money in the ecommerce arena. As a report from Jupiter research reveals that Europe will account for over 40 per cent of the world’s internet users by the end of this year, increasing the diversity of languages used on the net.
The European Telecommunications Council, headed up by commissioner Erkki Liikanen, said that multi-lingual websites are not a high enough priority for most businesses, and online companies need to be encouraged to use translation on their sites. “Encouraging the use of European digital content on world networks and promoting linguistic diversity,” he said.
Liikanen was also hammering home Europe’s better position in the wireless sector, saying that Europe is in a strong position to take the lead when mobile commerce takes off, as long as companies get the content right and offer it in a number of languages. Research from the Gartner Group found that more than 285 million Europeans will own Wap enabled mobile phones by 2003, but in the U.S., the number will be more like 150.5 million.
According to the EC, making content available in a number of languages throughout Europe, increases the companies market space and also its revenue. As research from eMarketer shows, the global percentage of internet based revenue provided by Europe is set to jump from 15 per cent to 29 per cent by 2003. To further encourage companies to translate their sites, the EC also announced the eContent programme, to be developed by voluntary members, so European content can be distributed across global networks in a variety of languages.