Most Spoken Languages in the World: Top Ten 2023

Most Spoken Languages in the World: Top Ten 2023

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Most Spoken Languages in the World: Top Ten 2023. Picture of a young man holding an earth globe over his head. Picture by Peggy Anke at Unsplash. Unsplash License.

Only a few decades ago, the list of the most spoken languages in the world was very different. English was the primary language you needed to speak when doing business. However, circumstances have changed; we now operate in a truly global economy, and localising content to languages other than English is crucial.

What are the Most Spoken Languages in the World?

With many new economic superpowers emerging, you must keep up with this great variety of new markets and profitable opportunities to successfully reach your goals.

Our diverse world is full of languages. Some are widely spoken, while others are small, intimate secrets that bind a group of people together. Yet all languages are equally important.

We have gathered a list of the top ten most spoken languages in the world, even though there is no reliable census data about that. The languages shown in our list were collected by Ethnologue, currently known as one of the most complete language data sources around.


English, with 1,4 billion speakers, is the third most spoken language in the world, behind Chinese and Spanish. Do you know that it is a Germanic Language? Most of the small commonly used words are of German origin, but there was a great addition of French and Latin Vocabulary later on.

As the business world increasingly uses English as its tool for communication, there has been an increase in the need to learn English as a second language (ESL). However, which English is worth using in Voice Over Projects?

British English, American English, Australian, a different type of English or a mixture of all… or does it not make a difference?

In many audiovisual projects, there seems to be a trend towards British English -using the Received Pronunciation mainly, as this is seen as the most traditional, or some would say (perhaps controversially) the purest form of English.

However, our recommendation is to use the English accent that the target audience of each project uses to better connect with them.

Everyone can agree that every version of English has its uniqueness and idiosyncrasies, which enhance the richness of language and the understanding of specific cultures and countries.

Wondering about the difference between American and British English?

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin is the standard form of Chinese based on the particular Mandarin dialect spoken in Beijing, with some influence from other Mandarin dialects. 

There are 1,1 billion speakers in 38 countries. Some are China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Our English to Chinese Audio and Video Translation Guide could help you!


India has many official languages, and Hindi is chief among them. There are almost 700 million speakers in more than 20 countries besides India, such as Mauritius, South Africa, Yemen, Uganda, Singapore, Pakistan, Nepal, and New Zealand.


The Spanish language originated in the Castile region of Spain. For this reason, it’s sometimes called Castilian (listen to Merce, one experienced Spanish Voice Over Artist with Castilian Accent).

There are more than 560 million Spanish speakers distributed in more than 20 countries, such as Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

Read our post about the different accents in Spanish.

Standard Arabic

It is not just the language that preserves the Arab world’s vast cultural heritage, but it is also a crucial instrument for doing business in this region. More than 360 million people speak Standard Arabic in the world today. It is spoken in Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Read How to Translate English to Arabic Audio and Video.


There are almost 300 million French speakers in the world. Today it is an official language in 29 countries such as Belgium, Canada, Chad, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu.

Take a look at our French localisation Guide.


It might surprise you that almost 280 million people speak Bengali worldwide, but the population density in these locations explains this fact. It is the language spoken in Bengal and parts of Burma and Western India, and the West African nation of Sierra Leone.


Russian is the most spoken European language, with approximately 260 million speakers. It is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, and it’s also spoken in Ukraine and many former Soviet countries, including Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.


Portuguese is the official language of nine nations besides Portugal and Brazil. There are more than 235 million Portuguese speakers. Know more about Portuguese-Speaking countries and what their accents are.


There are almost 175 million people that speak Urdu in the world, mainly in Pakistan and India. But, do you know that Urdu is one of the most spoken languages in the UK?

Voice-Over and Subtitling Services in all Languages

Languages are the glue that holds together societies and commerce on our planet. Localising your project in specific languages is an investment that will surely pay off. 

That´s why making strategic decisions when localising international content is so important. GoLocalise, London´s leading voice-over agency, offers services to reach audiences in over 300 languages.

Besides Translation, Voice-overs, and Subtitling, GoLocalise also offers transcription services for audio and video files in over 300 languages. Get in touch directly by phone or get a quote and find out why they are one of the most talked about voice-over agencies in the market today.

Check out our complete guides: Voice Over Rates, Translation Rates, and Subtitling Rates.

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