Apr 09, 2019
3 min read
Tens of millions of Indians are moving towards greater financial security, by making the transition from unbanked to banked. More and more accounts are being opened. At the same time, more and more Indians are coming online. What’s the connection, you ask?
Two words. Digital banking.
Digital banking has transformative potential. It can help Indians by bringing financial services literally to their fingertips.
However, these digital banking platforms cannot truly serve the masses without speaking a shared language. The data from Statista shows as of 2017, 300 million people in India holds a smartphone and most of them have internet in it. But they are unable to use the banking services because of the language barrier. 90% of Indians love to communicate in their mother tongue and are more comfortable in their regional language than English. That’s where language technology comes in.
It is extremely important to incorporate Indian languages in digital banking platforms so that more and more Indians can enjoy the benefits of it. A shared language helps in building trust which banking sectors Banking localization must be end-to-end, no breaks. All actions a user can take should be available, localized.
In a previous post, “How Indic Languages Can Boost Banking“, we spoke about the numerous benefits localization can offer banking platforms. Let’s now look at how the process itself would play out.
There are two steps to providing users with a banking platform with an end-to-end localized experience. The first is through localization of content and an entire content system, and the second is by enabling user engagement in Indian languages.
We will be covering both aspects In a two part series on banking. The first part will cover content localization.
To begin with, platforms, both websites and apps, need to be completely localized in different Indic languages so as to ensure visitors can avail banking services in their own language. This should not be limited to text content alone, it should cover all aspects of a platform – checkboxes, drop down menus, prompts, form fills, and more. This will involve both static and dynamic content, with translation and transliteration deployed.
Since precise legibility is important (given that money is involved), platforms must use high quality Indic fonts that leave no room for misreading characters and the like. After all, a small mistake in reading text could result in money being lost.
Indic input should be added to the platform as well, allowing users to meaningfully input text in their own language, through either typing or voice input. Any text boxes must give users the option to write in their own language, with both options enabled. Voice in particular can help Indian language internet users who may not be entirely familiar with traditional typing methods.
In addition, Indic search must be integrated so that users can search through databases and options, to find and discover new financial services that may be relevant to them.
It’s no secret that digital banking involves multiple pages with sensitive data, including transaction pages. Often, when a platform is localized, these pages are left untouched. This should not be the case, as these pages are critical to the user flow. If the language experience breaks on these pages, users will almost certainly drop off from the platform.
This is not limited to transaction pages and payment gateways. It should also apply to other critical pages like netbanking login pages, pages for changing account details, and the like.
Localizing Forms & Receipts
Banking processes involve a large volume of documents, to collect information, to process it, and to provide customers with output. All these documents must be made available in Indian languages.
Localizing documents also involves a template approach, however with documents it is enough to keep a localized template ready, as printed documents will be filled in manually. In the case of digital documents, Indic input must be available so that users can type in their language of choice.
Localizing content gets your platform ready to be actively used by Indian language internet users, opening them up to hundreds of millions of new and old users alike. It can be a powerful step in making a banking platform exponentially more accessible.
These steps of the localization process will ensure that content and content systems will be available in Indian languages, but this is not enough. User engagement is the other half of the journey, one that is equally important in order for users to have a complete language journey.
In our next piece, we will examine how localization can help bring banking platforms closer to their users. This is achieved through actively engaging users with communication and interactive tools that prompt users for needs, requirements, questions, and direct them to what they are looking for.