Here’s Why Spanish is Such an Important Language

This is Why Spanish is so Important for Your International Success

It’s common knowledge that English is the lingua franca of the international business world, of diplomacy and governance, of art and scientific research. But it’s also common knowledge that there are actually more native Spanish speakers than native English speakers. Spanish is a regional lingua franca throughout Europe and Latin America. It’s spoken as an official language in 20 countries and unofficially by large swaths of the populations in four others (including the United States), and large Spanish creole languages are spoken in at least four other countries. The United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and even the African Union (although the measure to make Spanish official adopted in 2003 hasn’t yet been ratified) all use Spanish as an official language.


Around the world, 442 million people speak Spanish as a native language and another 90 million speak it as a second language. Even in the United States, there are 40 million native Spanish speakers and 10 million non-native speakers. The collective Nominal GDP of the 20 Spanish-speaking countries is more than $4.3 trillion, and the GDP (PPP) is more than $7.6 trillion. French, on the other hand, has more countries where it is spoken as an official language but a collective nominal GDP of about $3.77 trillion and $6.7 trillion for GDP (PPP).


Last year, the 20 Spanish-speaking countries published a collective 132,508 books and released 271 films, with 1,193 films released in total. These are just some of the reasons why Spanish is an absolutely crucial language for the success of international businesses, literature, film, diplomacy, and government.




Spanish is one of the main Romance languages that proliferated and began transforming into its modern form during the Roman Empire. It is the combination of “Vulgar Latin” spoken by local officials, soldiers, and representatives of the Empire in what is today Spain and local languages such as Basque, Iberian, Celtiberian, and Gallaecian. The roots of old Spanish coalesced in the 9th century and were codified for one of the first times in a precursor to its form with the Glosas Emilianenses, a comparison of texts in a Latin coding alongside Basque.


Arabic has also had a large influence on modern Spanish, with large parts of Spain having been occupied by Arabs starting in the 8th century. Proximity to other Romance and European languages like French, Occitan, Catalan, Portuguese, and Italian has also helped shaped the grammar and vocabulary of Spanish a great deal over the past thousand years.


In turn, Spanish imperialism from the 15th century helped spread the language throughout much of South America and other pockets around the world that the Spanish Empire controlled. This resulted in both the extinction of some indigenous languages, especially in South America, but also the birth of creole languages and very localized dialects where indigenous populations added their flair to the European tongue. Spanish adopted a handful of words from indigenous languages where the Empire’s influence spread.



The Pitch

If you’re not convinced already that Spanish is an incredibly important language, then hopefully I’ll be able to make my case with this. Forget about the trillions of dollars that Spanish-speaking countries make and the thousands of books and hundreds of movies they publish and release each year. Ignore the fact that Spanish is spoken in all corners of the world, from the Philippines to Spain, from the United States to Argentina. Try not to think about scope in terms of distance. Think about reach in terms of population.

With more than 468 million people living in these 20 countries, and way more than 500 million Spanish speakers around the world, a potentially monstrous market for consumers is sitting and waiting. For example, national wealth and wealth per adult is a good measure of how strong the average consumer in any given country is. The total wealth across all these countries is $10.2 trillion, the average wealth per adult is $24,913, and the median wealth is $11,310. Consider, as a comparison, the figures for China, one of the hungriest consumer markets in the world, with average wealth per adult at $26,872 and median wealth at $6,689.

If you take nothing away from this article, just know try to remember the reach, scope, depth, and wealth of these Spanish speaking countries as well as what they can do for you, your business, your book, or whatever it is you’re looking to introduce to the world. If you have taken something substantial away from this article, then you’re in luck, because Ata Translation Agency offers high quality translation services in more than 300 languages, including, of course, Spanish and all its local and regional dialects. Give us a call or send us an email now to get a free quote or learn more about our services.

About the Author:

Daniel is based out of Chicago and works as a writer, editor, and translator.

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