Imagine you’re on a plane, and the person next to you wants to know what you do.
If they speak another language, how do you say UX design in their mother tongue?
This got me curious about how to say “user experience design” in the world’s most spoken languages.
That lead me to do
some a lot of research, resulting in this chart. It includes romanizations for pronouncing the translations without a Roman alphabet. (After the chart, I explain how I chose these 25 languages).
|Mandarin Chinese||用户体验设计||yòng hù tǐ yàn shè jì||1.09 billion|
|English||User experience design||983 million|
|Hindustani (Hindi+Urdu)||उपयोगकर्ता अनुभव डिजाइन||upyogakrtaa anubhv dijaain||544 million|
|Spanish||diseño de la experiencia del usuario||527 million|
|Arabic||تصميم تجربة المستخدم||tasmim tajribat almustakhdam||422 million|
|Malay||reka bentuk pengalaman pengguna||281 million|
|Russian||дизайн пользовательского опыта||dizajn pol’zovatel’skogo opyta||267 million|
|Bengali||ব্যবহারকারীর অভিজ্ঞতা নকশা||Byabahārakārīra abhijñatā nakaśā||261 million|
|Portuguese||design de experiência do usuário||229 million|
|French||conception de l’expérience utilisateur||229 million|
|Hausa||kwarewar mai amfani||150 million|
|Punjabi||ਉਪਭੋਗਤਾ ਅਨੁਭਵ ਡਿਜਾਈਨ||Upabhōgatā anubhava ḍijā’īna||148 million|
|Persian||طراحی تجربه کاربر||traha tjrbh kearbr||135 million|
|German||User Experience Design||129 million|
|Swahili||kubuni uzoefu wa mtumiaji||107 million|
|Telugu||యూజర్ అనుభవం డిజైన్||Yūjar anubhavaṁ ḍijain||92 million|
|Javanese||desain pengalaman pengguna||84 million|
|Korean||사용자 경험 디자인||sayongja gyeongheom dijain||77 million|
|Tamil||பயனர் அனுபவம் வடிவமைப்பு||Payaṉar aṉupavam vaṭivamaippu||75 million|
|Marathi||वापरकर्ता अनुभव डिझाइन||Vāparakartā anubhava ḍijhā’ina||74 million|
|Turkish||kullanıcı deneyimi tasarımı||71 million|
|Vietnamese||thiết kế trải nghiệm người dùng||68 million|
|Italian||il design dell’esperienza utente||il design dell’esperienza utente||66 million|
|Thai||การออกแบบประสบการณ์ผู้ใช้||Kār xxkbæb pras̄bkārṇ̒ p̄hū̂ chı̂||56 million|
How were these 25 languages chosen?
Originally, I wanted to translate the top 100 as identified in the List of Languages by Number of Native Speakers, but stopped halfway when I realized that Google Translate only had about 85 languages. Also, a lot of languages on this list simply did not have translations or lacked an easy-to-find English dictionary (read: I got lazy).
You might have noticed that removed two languages from the list – Wu Chinese and Yue Chinese. Fun fact – even if spoken differently, most Chinese languages and dialects share the same writing system. (E.g. someone from Taiwan may not understand another speaking Cantonese, but they can understand each other through the written language).
Translation is a messy business
Hats off to linguists and translators – language is infinitely complex and hard to wrangle.
Translatr was a helpful tool in multi-selecting languages, so that I could output translations for “user experience design” all at once for these 25 languages.
After this step, I realized that a lot of languages don’t have a Roman alphabet. I wanted to see how they would be pronounced. MyLanguages.org was very helpful for finding a Romanizations and Transliterations…but it couldn’t do the job for half the the languages I had in my list.
(I learned that transliteration was the practice of changing letters & words into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.)
After searching for individual romanizations/transliterations for a long time, I realized that Google translate had this all along.
This project turned out to be more fun than I thought – learned a lot about the pains of translation & languages.
I’m sure I’ve made a ton of mistakes. There were lots of data sources with different rankings of the most spoken languages, so look at this only as an approximation. Send me your suggestions if you catch an error ;)