Filipino Translation Needs in Business Development

Filipino Translation is a Must for Expanding Business in the Philippines

May 23, 2016

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The Philippines, Filipino

The official languages of the Philippines are Filipino (Tagalog) and English, and they are taught in schools so that people can be proficient in both languages. The Philippines has the third largest English-speaking population in the world, after the United States and the United Kingdom. It is possible to do business in English in the Philippines, but there are times when translation/localization into Filipino becomes necessary. This blog post discusses the needs for the Filipino language in developing your business in the Philippines.

The Positions of English and Filipino in the Philippines

The Philippines is comprised of over 7,000 islands with a total land area that is about 80 percent of that of Japan. The national language is Filipino, but the official languages are Filipino and English. In addition, there are different dialects spoken in different regions, which some counts say up to 80. Among them, the most well-known Tagalog is the representative language of the Philippines. It was originally used in and around the capital city of Manila, but has spread across the country through television, radio, and other mass media.

On the other hand, English plays a major role as a communication tool between the Filipinos who speak different languages in different regions, and also as a means to bring the country together. As mentioned earlier, both Filipino and English are taught at schools, and speaking in English is nothing unusual in the Philippines. This makes the Philippines stand out as an invaluable country in Asia with a large English-speaking population.

The Advantages the Philippines Offer for Growing Your Business

1. High proficiency in business English

One index that a global business can use as a guideline when considering where to locate its bases overseas is the Business English Index, or BEI, which assesses business English proficiency of non-native English speakers by country. The 2013 BEI released from GlobalEnglish places the Philippines at the very top.

2. Low prices

The prices in the Philippines are roughly one-third of those in Japan. The low prices will have a significant impact on rents for offices and plants required in the business operations as well as on the cost of hiring local employees. In addition, there is also the benefit of low living expenses for the Japanese employees stationed in the Philippines.

3. Distance from Japan

The time difference between Japan and the Philippines is one hour. You can fly to Manila from major Japanese cities, such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya in about four hours, with direct flights available to Manila and Cebu. This physical proximity will be a great advantage when traveling between local offices in the Philippines and Japan.

Documents that Require Filipino Translation and Localization

Business operations in the Philippines will require a variety of documents, from specialized documents including contracts, declarations, articles of associations, and work rules to documents for establishing a company, labor affairs, tax affairs, and M&A. Since English is an official language in the Philippines, many of the official documents can be in English, but there are also cases in which Filipino translation becomes necessary.

For example, contracts and work rules for locally hired employees should have both English and Filipino versions. Some Filipinos may not feel comfortable reading and writing English even if they can speak the language. Not fully understanding the words in a document could be a cause for trouble. Operating your business using clear and accessible translation is one key to having a successful business in the Philippines.


The Philippines is the country with the third largest English-speaking population in the world, and considering its geographic location in Asia, it is expected to be a key site for Japanese companies in expanding their business. With this, the needs for the Filipino language are also expected to rise more than ever. Being ready for those needs can bring numerous benefits.

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