California #1 in Language Diversity

In June of 2016, California surpassed France to become the world’s 6th largest economy. If California were a country, it would be the 35th most populous country on earth. Along with its great size and economy, California is home to a diverse population speaking a wide variety of languages.

Common Voices

A full 42% of Californians speak a language other than English in their homes. The most common language in California, outside of English, is Spanish. Nationally, Spanish is spoken by 14% of the population. In California, that number jumps dramatically to 29%. Other languages with a significant impact on California’s economy are Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. But anyone living near San Francisco or Los Angeles can tell you it is not uncommon to hear Farsi, Armenian, Russian or Arabic during the course of a normal day.

“Agnew Multilingual specializes in developing linguistically adapted content for non-English speaking groups in California and across the United States,” said German Rubiano, Agnew’s Production Manager.

Business Sense

With such a diversity of voices, it is important for businesses to consider and include non-English speakers in their communication efforts. According to the Common Sense Advisory market research group, 55% of consumers prefer to make purchases only in their native language and 53% are more at ease making purchases in their native language. Employing language services makes good business sense.

Legal Sense

Crafting communications for non-English speakers also makes good legal sense. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires any business or agency receiving federal financial assistance to provide meaningful access to programs and activities for persons of “Limited English Proficiency” (LEP). Failure to provide such access could result in civil action as well as the loss of federal funding.

The Future

The number of people with Limited English Proficiency is growing every year. Overall, the choice to employ language services relies on your business, market, and customers. In California, at least, doing business without considering your non-English customers can have a negative impact on your bottom line.