By Rakesh Kapoor, CEO, Process 9
Abhinay, 22, is an extremely friendly boy. As any youngster would be at his age, Abhinay was also keen on buying a smart-phone. He wanted to learn and use new features, browse interesting content on-the-go, shop online, make new friends on chat, send and receive messages from his loved ones and update him to a world of new tech gadgets. But the only factor that disheartened him was the unavailability of smartphones in his native language.
The incompetence of devices and internet resources to prove useful to many such Abhinays in India is making businesses less personal and hence less profitable. However, understanding the requirements of Indian markets, brands like Sasmsung, Gionee, Lava and Intex are equipping their devices with keypads that support 21 regional languages, thus acing the race of mobile penetration in India.
So while device manufacturers are setting up the stage for internet and app-based businesses to reach the niche markets, the ultimate performers on this stage are the mobile businesses and upcoming start-ups targeting Tier-2 and Tier 3 cities. One of the biggest challenges for most Indians in accessing the Internet and using its services is language.
Most businesses are catering to the non-English speaking population and enabling the right multilingual technology at the beginning of their journey ensures access to a larger Indian base. Start-ups that are aggregating cab and auto rickshaw drivers, grocery providers, cleaners, and many others like them should ensure they have a multilingual interactive platform for all their end users.
Importance of Language Localization in Indian Market
India is a country where English is not the native language and approximately 80% of India is non-English literate and relies upon native languages which could be Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and many more. According to an IAMAI report, India has 353 million Internet users as of June 2015. The number of local language Internet users in India is growing at 47% year-on-year and has touched 127 million in June 2015, thanks to the increasing use of smart-phones in rural areas of the country.
Localization therefore is not just a strategy to reach out to the semi-urban and rural users but 47% of urban users prefer to use Internet in native languages. In addition, number of local language Internet users is growing much faster than English language users. To achieve localization, there can be four major mechanisms that once added to the basic planning of any business will add up to marking a presence on the internet world and mobile apps
• Strategizing for the target markets, the user base and their native languages
• Planning for Technological Support: Partnering with a right technology provider can help scalability for start-ups and maximize the ROI.
• Subject Matter and scope required to be translated: Identifying the sets of database and content which are dynamic or static in nature. Information sets being updated on daily basis have a real need for live translation.
• Customer Experience: Aesthetic fonts and layouts, on-the go translations all combine to give a seamless experience to the user.
• Budgeting and planning – Each business will have its own scope and scale at which it needs to get worked upon.
Looking at these essentials, one may realize that the right localization partner makes a big difference in establishing a successful platform. Localizing language is neither an extensive nor an expensive ordeal. The benefits of language localization on a websites and through mobile apps to help scale business to higher horizons are endless. The potential and growth of the newly found industry in India is immense and is something that will develop into a major gold mine since languages are never going to fizzle out.