This paper reports on an exploratory study done to assess the demand for multi-language websites by South Africans who do not have English as their home language but speak English proficiently. South Africa makes an interesting case study because, in spite of its eleven official languages, English is used as the default language in most business communications and for websites in particular. The unspoken – and empirically unverified – argument appears to be that most educated South Africans are fluent enough in English not to need non-English sites. This myth is soundly debunked in our exploratory study and it can be conjectured that organisations who will cater for the pent-up demand for native language websites should be able to attract a captive audience. It is suggested that the study is of particular interest to other nations who have multiple official languages but where a single language dominates the internet communications, as appears to be the case in many African and a number of Asian countries.
Belle, Jean-Paul Van; Fellstad, Ryan; Steele, Clinton; and van Bakel, Wendy, "Multi-language Websites in a Multi-cultural Country: A South African Perspective" (2003). ICEB 2003 Proceedings. 79.