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May 29, 2012  London, England - 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games: HT Localization & European Businesses are Leveraging Languages for the Global Stage

This summer, the world will be watching the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.  London is home to over 200 ethnic communities, who speak over 300 languages. While the official languages of the Olympic Games are French and English, the official Olympic website is available in 5 languages: Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Arabic. The reality is that with over 200 countries gathering for the summer games, 300+ languages will be spoken this summer in England’s capital!

The UK is preparing to receive over 330,000 international tourists and participants due to the London 2012 Olympics. According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), “The Olympic Games are one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world, reaching billions of people in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world”.

According to Amadeus, a company that provides technology to the travel industry, and Forward Data SL, a market research and consulting company publishing ForwardKeys, 31% more people will visit London between July 23 - August 12 than in the same period last year, with the greatest visitors from the US, Germany and Australia, along with other European nations and Japan.

What does this all mean for local business in London, where English is the spoken language and widely understood by nearly 2 billion people globally who speak English as a second language? 

It means that hundreds of thousands of British pounds  and Euros will be spent preparing for the Games and its economic opportunities.  From restaurants to hotels to retailers to taxis and pubs, London will welcome the world.  Rather than “localising” to the local market, local business in London are internationalising for the global stage, locally.  

Business are ramping up to translate menus, programs, billboards, publicities, adverts, signs, brochures, tourist guides, websites, marketing copy, FAQs, etc... from English into foreign languages.  Translators and linguists are being hired to help address this massive business need.  Not only by local businesses, but also by international sponsors and marketers, who will also communicate to international viewers and participants of the Summer Games. 

English businesses are recognising that in order to fully realise the economic benefits of serving the Olympic crowds, they must make it easier for international tourists to interact with them.

“If a person can understand English, then they will get by in London, but if they see a hotel website or restaurant menu in their native language, then they will most certainly prefer to engage with that service provider, simply because it’s easier.” Says Hervé Thevenet, Co-Founder & President of HT Localization, LLC., a translations and localisation agency.

London will not be the only city enjoying the economical lift from the Olympics, an inflow of tourism to other European designations such as Brussels, Amsterdam,  Paris and Madrid is also expected, as many visitors will round out their summer holiday with a little European tour with the Olympics games as the highlight. 

Many European business wanting to prepare for this summer’s surge of international visitors have been asking - In which languages should we translate our website and marketing materials?

The answer will depend on who the business wants to attract. The 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games official website is in Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Arabic, but given the historical tourist trends one should also consider Russian, Japanese and Korean

For assistance on how to localise your business for the upcoming summer Olympic & Paralympic Games, please visit HT Localization online at and Request More Information using the online form.

HT Localization, LLC. is a privately-held translation & localisation services company offering high quality multi-lingual services at a low cost by leveraging technology.  Based in the US with sales & operations located in the US, Spain, Zambia and Thailand, the company provides around the globe services to meet demanding localisation needs.   


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