The world is getting smaller. People have trotted out that cliched phrase for decades, but it’s true. First, it was boats reducing the space between people. Then it was planes, trains, and automobiles. Since the late nineties, the internet has made the world smaller. Today, anyone can go online and converse with someone in a different country, consume content in a foreign language, and enjoy another culture without leaving home. The Internet is a global network that’s brought people from all walks of life closer together.
English Dominates but Don’t Fixate on It
English is the dominant language in both the real world and the digital sphere. Although less than 400 million people have English as their first language, 1.1 billion more have it as a secondary language and with 1.5 billion English speakers, the internet is awash with English content. From TV shows such as The West Wing to musical hits from artists like Yo Gotti, it’s all there. If you understand English, great. Having access to almost everything online is wonderful, but what if you want to find some hidden gems?
Learning another language, whether it’s taking French lessons every other week in between working a full-time job or getting your head down and mastering Mandarin, can open doors to content you never knew existed. In the modern era, it’s easier than ever to access language-learning resources and you can choose to study at a time and place of your convenience, as opposed to in a classroom during conventional teaching hours. You don’t have to compromise the quality of your teaching either, with interactive one-to-one tutors available at the click of a few buttons, courtesy of companies like Preply.
The main advantage of taking the opportunity to learn a language is that it can transform your experiences. The most obvious example of this in recent times is Squid Games. The popular Netflix show was written by Hwang Dong-hyuk and shot in his native language, Korean. As it does with all its popular shows, Netflix released overdubbed versions of Squid Games in various languages. However, the general consensus among fans is that the translated versions all fall short.
Original Content Is Often the Best
Therefore, to capture the show’s true drama, it’s best to watch it in Korean with subtitles. Naturally, if you could understand Korean, you’d get the best experience possible. The same applies to other languages. Take, for example, French. You could search through a database of experienced tutors and take French lessons via your computer. From a trial lesson through to one-on-one sessions and homework, you could build up a decent level of French. With this skill, you could enjoy content aimed at French speakers.
Over 60 million people in France use the internet. As such, there are plenty of websites dedicated to French speakers that you’d miss if you didn’t understand the language. For example, Topito is an entertainment website that publishes videos, quizzes, and fun content in French. Another great example of French content online is Mademoiselle. Given that France is the home of fashion (although London has its moments), it’s hardly surprising that this is one of the best French-language websites for all things stylish.
Expand Your Digital Horizons
Those are just two examples of websites that exist outside of the norm for people who don’t speak French. We can do the same for every other language. From German and Spanish to Dutch and Portuguese, there is content for speakers of all languages. There are probably readers thinking, ‘But surely I can just use Google’s translation feature?’. In response: yes, you could; however, there’s nothing quite like the original. Automatic translations struggle to capture the true essence, tone, and meaning of written content.
Therefore, like Squid Games, it’s worth consuming content in the language it was originally created. Also, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that any content not written or translated into English isn’t good. English isn’t the end goal for all content creators. Yes, it’s used by a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean that only English content is worth consuming. Learning another language can expose you to new ideas, concepts and cultures. So, if you want to get more from the internet and find hidden treasures, become a polyglot.