Languages

Deciding on what languages to use for your IVR does not have to be difficult.


First, you need to decide on what you are trying to accomplish with your IVR. Here are a few common uses:

If your intention is to have as many languages as possible, even at the risk of small mistakes in machine translations (in other words, rely on automated translations to communicate with potential customers whose language you do not speak but do not want to be turned away), we can provide some helpful statistics in terms of the most spoken languages, collected mostly from Wikipedia.


Here is George H. J. Weber's report on the number of total speakers of the top languages, published not so long ago.

Language

Native speakers

Secondary speakers

Total

Chinese

1,100 million

15 million

1,115 million

English

330 million

150 million

480 million

Spanish

300 million

15 million

315 million

Russian

155 million

125 million

280 million

French

175 million

115 million

290 million

Hindi/Urdu

250 million

?

?

Arabic

200 million

20 million

220 million

Brazilian Portuguese

160 million

30 million

190 million

Bengali *

180 million

?

?

Japanese

110 million

10 million

120 million

Punjabi *

90 million

?

?

German

100 million

10 million

110 million

Javanese *

80 million

?

?

(* TTS services not available)


Toronto in Ontario, Canada, is heralded as one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world. It makes a lot of sense to look at its demographics to determine language use.


According to Toronto.ca,


Wikipedia has fresher data from the Canadian 2011 census.


Toronto CMA, 2011

Population

%

English

2,980,215

53.8

Cantonese *

170,490

3.1

Italian

166,415

3.0

Chinese (not otherwise specified)

157,145

2.8

Panjabi (Punjabi) *

153,475

2.8

Spanish

119,965

2.2

Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino)

119,240

2.2

Urdu

110,255

2.0

Tamil *

105,340

1.9

Portuguese

104,110

1.9

Mandarin

100,050

1.8

Persian

81,015

1.5

Russian

78,105

1.4

Polish

75,275

1.4

Arabic

66,710

1.2

French

63,160

1.1

Gujarati *

58,715

1.1

Korean

51,395

0.9

Vietnamese

45,270

0.8

Greek

42,840

0.8



There are some languages (Bengali, Punjabi, Javanese, Gujarati, Tamil and others) we cannot use automatically (we have marked them with "*"); for these, you may provide your own recordings, as explained in our DIY page.