How Linguistic Inclusion With BHIM Lead To Financial Inclusion
Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is a mobile app developed by the NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India), as a part of the Government of India’s Digital India initiative. BHIM runs on the Unified Payments Interface, also developed by the NPCI.
BHIM gives you access to instant, secure, and painless digital payments from the comfort of your own mobile phone. You can transfer money, pay at stores, and pay bills via BHIM.
BHIM played, and continues to play a large role in the Digital India initiative, by making digital payments available to hundreds of millions of Indians.
Localisation & Digital Payments
Linguistic inclusion equals financial inclusion.
After demonetization, the Government of India encouraged cashless transactions by promoting digital payments. In particular, digital payments over mobile platforms.
Given that more Indians own mobile phones than desktops,a mobile-first thrust in promoting digital payments made a lot of sense. And more importantly, it meant that the ability to make payments digitally would reach a lot more Indians, allowing them to go cashless and take advantage of the possibilities BHIM offered them.
BHIM was to be made available to all phone users, users of feature phones and users of smartphones.
While the platforms were in place for making digital payments, they were lacking one critical feature that ultimately determined their accessibility – the right language.
If BHIM was in a language most Indians didn’t understand, how would it promote digital payments among the masses? BHIM needed to be in Indian languages for true financial inclusion, to ensure that digital payments were indeed universally accessible.
An English-only approach, on the other hand, would have limited their reach to an English speaking elite alone, but that would be contrary to Digital India’s goals of financial inclusion.
To put it simply, linguistic inclusion equals financial inclusion. The NPCI realised that localisation would be a key factor in making digital payments truly democratic and Indian.
Reverie’s experience with previous projects, and our comprehensive LaaS (language-as-a-service) suite meant that the requirement could be executed in time, in a situation where time was a critical factor. We also had in-house resources for localisation consulting during all stages of the app’s development cycle, which ensured that the app’s roll-out would feature a smooth, fully localised experience in all 11 Indian languages required.
In addition, the scale and the potential target base of the project (tens of millions of Indian language users, nationwide, in 11 languages), and the context sensitivity involved in the payments domain meant that localisation had to be done by someone with the experience and the resources to handle scale, scope, sensitivity and precision.
Reverie checked all the boxes.
The LaaS Dash For BHIM
We had 2 weeks in which we had to localise text strings in 11 languages for the app. Time was of the essence, and so was providing a consistent solution that did not have any breaks in user flow.
Our existing database of banking and financial domain specific vocabulary and our machine translation system in 4 Indian languages gave us a solid head start, and made the process easier and quicker. It also ensured that our localised strings were highly domain relevant.
Reverie received text string elements for the app’s in-app content. These strings were then localised into 11 Indian languages by feeding them into Reverie’s localisation API, a tool that is part of our LaaS suite.
The final result – strings for in-app content, fully localised in 11 Indian languages – was sent back to BHIM, where they were plugged into the app and made available.
BHIM has been downloaded over 20 million times since its launch on December 30 2016, and accounted for 33% of all UPI transactions made in October 2017, or 7.6 million transactions.
By enabling the localisation of one of India’s most popular digital payment apps, Reverie has played an active role in helping make digital payments more accessible to millions and millions of Indian citizens, nationwide.
Reverie’s LaaS solutions broadened the scope of BHIM’s linguistic inclusion, which in turn made financial inclusion one giant step closer to the Indian masses, empowering them.