Multilingual apps play an important role in Digital Banking!

diversity #multilingual #india


Jay Anthony

24 June 2021 8 min read

Multilingual apps play an important role  in Digital Banking!


Indian vernacular language users are expected to be 534 million by 2021. It is time that industry 4.0 caters to regional language consumers. Translators, subject-matter experts and project managers are what brands need to set them apart on the web.

With more than a billion people speaking over 30 languages in 1,600 dialects, India’s diversity is unambiguous. There was a time when using a suitable script on a phone’s keypad to type messages in any Indian languages was unheard of.

Today, with the advent of smartphones, vernacular is all the rage on phones, social media and networking sites.

Billions across India now have an option to use a language of their choice on their smartphones. While English is still the most widely used language in India, new users are now opting to access internet in their regional languages, or at the most a combination of vernacular and English, eg. Hinglish I.e English+Hindi. This experience will only get better if brands choose to explore the potential market in this space. Which they are already doing.


Some Data and Stats

According to a report, there were 175 million English speaking internet users and 234 million Indian language users in 2017. By 2021, the gap between the two groups is expected to widen. The Indian language users are expected to double to 534 million while English speaking users will increase by only about 10 percent to 199 million. Considering that 31 percent of the Indian population lives in over 3,000 Tier I and Tier II cities, this is the biggest market to tap when it comes to digital marketing. There is a large user base with a huge appetite for content in their own vernacular language.

At the outset, and to a large extent, even today, the internet is largely designed for the English language user. How will a common man with a smartphone, who does not have a high level of skill in English understand what the internet has to offer? How do we solve this problem for a country which speaks many different languages?

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) Faculty-led Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI) has called for developing multilingual payment applications, customer support and grievance redressal in multiple Indian languages.

This is a crucial component to increase inclusiveness and the reach of mobile and digital payments in the country. At present, not all official languages are offered as ‘language options’ on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment applications.

Here is an important piece of news from Times of India -

IIT-M forum recommends multilingual digital payment apps

There are many advantages of banking in your own language. We find that a lot of our customers find themselves travelling between countries for work, travel, study or retirement. They want to be familiar with banking. They don’t want to start again, in an unknown language, every time they arrive in a country. Banking in the language you feel most comfortable with is also very helpful in emergencies. If you have got to speak to your bank urgently because you’ve lost your cards, or you’ve noticed something unusual about your account, you want to do this in a language you are comfortable in.

So India is going regional on digital, is your brand still speaking English? It is time brands understand the importance of the huge untapped market communicating in regional languages. Making efforts to be “out of the gate” first is an enormous opportunity to earn a competitive advantage. It is an ideal opportunity for change. Change from limited English infrastructure, a language which many Indians do not understand as compared to their vernacular languages.

To go regional digitally is very important for a brand, as this will increase traffic to your digital properties. So, being one of the first off-the-block is what brands must aspire for. 


Going regional is necessary, but getting it done correctly and completely, is the clincher.

Going regional does not only mean translating content on some free translation software. The demand is to go beyond just basic translations, and ensure that the real meaning of content is not lost in a literal translation. It is also not just about textual content, but about text that has been used as a part of images, videos voiceovers or other content like infographics, etc. While your main website might be up to speed, the many microsites/ landing pages designed, digital assets like mobile apps, etc. must be regional language friendly. 

On any ordinary website along with articles, there are numerous images, picture, videos that need to be well-translated to find a connect with the vernacular consumer. What’s the point if the articles are translated and images and videos aren’t?

Websites with large amount of content fear that the process of translation to multiple regional languages can be long and ongoing. In order to ensure time-bound execution of such translation projects, there should be an agile framework for project management that ensures the desired efforts occur at well-defined time intervals.

Adding to this, each translation has to be concise and appropriate so that the proper message is delivered without any loss of meaning. This is especially true for content that may be technical in nature, for specific kinds of product, services, etc.


To Conclude

Most brands have numerous digital assets and a large pool of content. This could include videos, labels, copy, annotations on images or infographics which need to be converted into regional languages too. Along with a translator, a subject matter expert should also be involved in the process. Post the completion of translation, there should be independent checkers who are experts and understand the subject matter. This is a further test run to ensure high quality translation.

At TECHVED Consulting, we always listen and respond to the needs of users. We knew Indian local language would be popular with our customers and have already had a very positive response from existing and new customers. There is no criteria for our multilingualism, but we do adopt languages that we know will be popular and will make life easy for our customers.


With all this being focused upon, we will be ready for the new digital India that speaks many more languages besides English.


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Concluding message

A well-designed website for users with disabilities is a site that is more accessible to use for all types of users.

A well-designed digital business can easily explain the process of online buying and selling for users with disabilities and can add more value to the business.

Therefore, add some mint into the users’ cup of tea and provide an accessible zest to your digital assets by making it more compliant.

Feel free to get in touch with TECHVED Consulting!

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Jay Anthony

Marketing Head | TECHVED Consulting India Pvt. Ltd.

He led efforts to develop a fully integrated marketing communications plan and growing team. He is responsible for successful corporate re-brand and update of all branded assets.

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