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How the English Language’s Disproportionate Influence Skews Global Narratives

October 10, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
No one questions English’s status as the world’s go-to language for business, tech, tourism and academia, but that popularity has also made it disproportionately influential on news. In a chapter of Hostwriter’s Unbias the News: Why Diversity Matters for Journalism, journalist, writer and managing editor of the Global Investigative Journalism Network Tanya Pampalone looks at how English’s prominent status can lead to skewing of entire narratives. We break down an excerpt of that chapter published for GIJN and look at how this inequality also means missed opportunities for interactions between the non-native and non-English speaking world, creative or otherwise. By the Numbers Kai Chan, a distinguished fellow at the INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative, put together the Power Language Index in 2016, which measures which languages in the world hold the most influence based on five key factors. (G)eography: countries spoken, land area, tourists (inbound) (E)conomy: GDP, PPP, Exports, FX market, SDR composition (C)ommunications: Native speakers, second-language speakers, language family size, tourists (outbound) (K)nowledge & Media: Internet content, feature films, Top 500 universities, academic journals. (D)iplomacy: United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Supranational Organizations (SNOs). Based on these factors, Kai presented the world’s top 10 languages, their respective number…

Presentation – Kai Chan – Is the English language too powerful? / L’anglais est-il trop fort?

August 24, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
The below is my presentation at LangFest 2019. Le dessous est ma présentation au LangFest 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAET9DY2NOY English is the most powerful language from a global perspective (as measured by the Power Language Index). At the local level, even in places where it does not have status, English can still overwhelm the local language(s). This presents a dilemma for societies that want to participate in a globalised world yet retain and protect their local tongue. The power dynamics of Montreal are examined using the lens of the Power Language Index. L'anglais est la langue la plus puissante au niveau mondial (selon le «Power Language Index» ou «Indice des langues influentes»). Au niveau local, même dans les endroits où il n’a pas de statut, l’anglais peut toujours submerger la/les langue(s) locale(s). Cela pose un dilemme aux sociétés qui souhaitent participer à l'économie mondiale tout en conservant et en protégeant leur(s) langue(s) locale(s). Les dynamiques linguistiques de Montréal sont examinées en utilisant le «Power Language Index». Bio: Dr Kai L. Chan is a Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD. Previously he was a special adviser to the UAE federal government on competitiveness and statistics, where he focused on that country’s positioning on global performance…

Interview Kai Chan & María Ortega García

August 23, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
The below is an interview I did for the 2019 edition of LangFest (a polyglot conference) in Montreal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr79TLO2bX8 Kai L. Chan Bio: Dr Kai L. Chan is a Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD. Previously he was a special adviser to the UAE federal government on competitiveness and statistics, where he focused on that country’s positioning on global performance indices. Prior to his stint in the UAE, Dr Chan served as an associate and the in-house economist for a consumer finance merchant banking firm in Manhattan. Before that, he worked in the Singapore office of a global management consulting firm. Chan’s expertise/research cover education, income distribution, migration, government & policy, and performance measurement. He is the creator of the Power Language Index, Gender Progress Index, and Intelligence Capital Index. Dr Chan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and PhD from Princeton University. Kai grew up in Toronto, Canada, but currently resides in Montreal. He speaks English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin and German, and is currently learning Russian. Kai L. Chan, PhD est chercheur («Distinguished Fellow») à l’INSEAD. Il a été conseiller spécial en compétitivité et statistiques auprès du gouvernement fédéral des Émirats arabes unis, fonction dans le cadre de…

Dîner LangFest: Kai L. Chan

July 19, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
The below is an interview I did with the LangFest organisers. Le dessous est mon interview avec les organisateurs du LangFest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn_2piPkaK4 #LangFest19 #LangFestConferenciers www.kailchan.ca Кай Л. Чан

The 10 Best Languages for Business

July 7, 2019 Articles, Media / Op-ed
Savvy business owners understand that there is a multitude of opportunities in targeting foreign audiences. After all, native English speakers only make up 4.9% of the global population. But translation strategy is more than producing your content in various languages and sending it out to the world in hopes of attracting new audiences. A plan for prioritizing the languages you target will lead to quicker returns and better efficiency. First, if your research shows that you have a strong demand in specific locales but haven’t yet translated your content for them, then you have some low hanging fruit to pick. But what if you’re launching a new product or you’re already established your in primary foreign markets and aren’t sure where to target next? In this post, we’ll provide the ten best languages for business and why you should consider targeting them for translation. The Most Useful Languages for Business When researching which languages to target, a common approach is to focus on the world’s most popular languages. While this is a good starting point, it fails to consider cultural and diplomatic factors that directly correlate with the translation ROI of a language. Dr. Kai Chan of INSEAD has published a report that tackles…




These are the world’s most powerful languages:

Research Documents (pdf)

Intelligence Capital IndexPower Language IndexImmigrating into the workforceCanada's Mosaic Ceiling

Presentations (pdf):