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Translation and Localization for Asia: The Kingdom of Cambodia

Nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, along the South China Sea, is the Kingdom of Cambodia. This country, while relatively stable in recent years, has seen its share of turmoil in the last half century. New turmoil could be building with recent mass demonstrations against the current government as the people are frustrated with claims of corruption and the likelihood of fraudulent elections.

In this blog, I will cover some brief facts about life in Cambodia.

The website, If It Were My Home, provides an interesting perspective comparing basic living standards of a person in Cambodia to a person living in the United States.


According to the site, if Cambodia were your home instead of the United States you would:

(Click each item to read more information.)

Cambodian Demographics
  • Cambodia has a population of approximately 15 million people.
  • The population is very young, over 50% of the population are under the age of 24. Only 10% of the population are older than 55.
  • 75% of the adult population live in a rural location.
  • Cambodia is close to the geographic size of Kansas for overall land mass.
Cambodian Languages
  • Khmer, also referred to as Cambodian, is the official language and spoken by natives and many non-natives.
  • Khmer, as spoken in Cambodia, is very different from Khmer spoken in neighboring countries to the point that one would not understand the Khmer dialect used between Cambodia and neighboring countries.
  • Vietnamese is a secondary language in the country.
Cambodian Culture
  • The traditional greeting is call a “Sampeah”, which requires a person’s palms to be pressed together in front of their chest and to slightly bow. You may also say quietly “Chumreap Suor”. While this is the traditional greeting, a handshake is also widely used. It is suggested for visitors to the country to use the traditional greeting.
  • Naturopathy is widely used among the country’s doctors, which promotes natural medicinal remedies from things like roots and herbs to cure the body.
  • 90% of the population are Khmer and 5% Vietnamese.
Cambodian Consumers
  • Very few Cambodians (17%) use banking and of those who do, even fewer see the value in doing so.
  • Only about 12% of the population use the internet.
  • While internet usage is extremely low, 36% of the population use mobile access for money services. 98% of which is to receive a remittance.
Cambodia’s Future

Cambodia is struggling to bring its population into the digital age while it is dealing with a corrupt government. This will prevent foreign investors from bringing business development into the country.

To grow digital usage will take a societal change more so than technical capability. Elsewhere in Asia, and also around the globe in financially depressed locales, digital acceptance is a way to improve economic position. But the benefits of going digital has not yet risen above a basic awareness in Cambodia.