The name of the Joomla! project itself is derived from the Swahili word ‘Jumla’. Swahili is used as the lingua franca in East Africa. With 50+ million speakers, it is spoken in Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Comores, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.
The default language of Joomla! is English which is the official language in 53 countries and the current lingua franca of international business, science, technology and aviation. It is spoken by 500 million - 1.8 billion people in the world. The current world population is around 6.9 billion. That means 6.4 - 5.1 billion people, which represents 92% - 73% of the world's population, cannot understand English.
The rest of the world
I collected a few other languages worldwide which are widely spoken. These are figures are from Wikipedia with a link to the language file in the Joomla! extension directory. I have not found a Malay language translation, nor a Swahili translation!
- Chinese - 1,345 million - Joomla! Translation - 1,419 views on JED
- Hindustani - 650 million - Joomla! Translation - 10,698 views on JED
- Spanish (Castillian) - 500+ million - Joomla! Translation - 164,750 views on JED
- French - 500 million - Joomla! Translation - 99,379 views on JED
- Arabic - 450 million - Joomla! Translation - 21,708 views on JED
- Malay and Indonesian - 300 million - nothing found
- Russian - 300 million - Joomla! Translation - 94,917 views on JED
- Portuguese - 220 million - Joomla! Translation - 164,748 views on JED
- German - 200 million - Joomla! Translation - 148,200 views on JED
If you look at the number of views on the JED, Joomla! seems to be very popular in the ‘old’ world (Spanish, Portuguese, German, French). I know that there are other sources where one can download the language files like joomla.cn or jgerman.de. Unfortunately, often they have no counter at their download page, so it isn’t easy to figure out the whole picture.
Joomla! 1.6 and languages
One of the best features for my work in Europe (23 official languages) is the possibility of Joomla! 1.6 Core to deal with different languages. You can create a multi-language website out of the box. That’s a new and an amazing feature!
The amount of downloads motivated me to start a series of screencasts covering the book chapters. Screencasts are a bit complicated for me because I have to speak English. My native language is German and I am sure that my English sounds a bit strange and statical. But it is a good training for me too!
I have embedded the Multi-Language screencast here in the article. If you like the idea and want to watch more, read about the possibilities in Screenscasts, Tutorials, Videos.