Fintech localisation — it’s all about compliance…

After a period of huge optimism and investment, fintech companies are feeling the heat a little as we move further into 2017.

Fintech funding was scaled back in 2016 compared to the previous year, and a similar trend has emerged in Europe on the back of widely-held Brexit fears.

This is unfolding alongside the more established regulatory and compliance challenges that fintech firms have faced for some time.

But there are many success stories out there. Fintech companies of every flavour, from payments through to crypto-currency and everything in-between are looking optimistically to 2017 and beyond.

Much of this optimism stems from plans to expand services outside of their current markets. Whilst some will be looking to add new European countries into the mix, or to head West into North America, others are looking to Asia and developing economies for growth.

International expansion may be mandated under their investment terms or it may be a strategic response to challenges in their domestic market. Whatever the motivation, localisation will be a core component of the implementation strategy.

Carefully considered localisation is arguably even more important in fintech than it is other technology-based sectors. Aside from the usual product and marketing considerations, compliance looms large in fintech communications.

In a highly regulated environment where information disclosure, wording, and accuracy are key, there is simply no room for mistakes. Mistakes cost money, and in the most extreme examples they can put your operating license at risk.

These levels of risk are high in the domestic market, but what if you’re operating across a diverse range of jurisdictions? It’s at this point that things get interesting, and even riskier.

Whilst translation is just one (critical) part of the localisation mix, when it comes to fintech it becomes an even more important element. It only takes one poorly translated statement in your app or on your website to have very serious consequences. If the content or accuracy as it is perceived in that market deviates from the regulatory requirement, the consequences can be severe.

And that’s why it’s so important to work with a trusted localisation provider from the earliest stage. You’ve probably already invested heavily and consulted about the regulatory requirements of the country you’re looking to target — don’t blow it at this stage.

An experienced localisation partner will support you in a number of ways. Not only will they deal with the minutiae of ensuring your app, website, sales and marketing assets meet the cultural and linguistic needs of the market, but they’ll help to keep you out of trouble along the way.

Your localisation provider will need to select the translators to use for your project with exceptional care — this is not the time for them to be clicking the box that says ‘finance’ and searching a database of thousands. A hand-picked approach is necessary — choosing in-country resources that are proven and trusted to understand the underlying financial, regulatory, and linguistic demands of the project.

Most reputable localisation companies will use terminology tools to store previously translated text for review and re-use in future projects. This ‘translation memory’ has the potential to reduce costs in the long term, as previously translated text will not have to be translated from scratch again. Perhaps more importantly, it also ensures that repetitive statements can be reproduced reliably across all materials — whether they be in-app, web or marketing related. This can help to ensure that compliant terminology is used consistently, but does of course rely on the original translation being compliant and accurate in the first place.

Aside from the rigours of compliance, high-growth fintech companies aren’t known for maintaining the status quo. Fintech was born out of disruption, and disruption demands flexibility. This applies to localisation too. Your localisation partner should be willing and able to scale and flex to your individual needs, not try to limit you to a generic approach and regimented process.

In the fintech space the stakes are simply too high to risk a basic translation approach. If you’d like to learn more about how true localisation can help to de-risk your expansion strategy, simply get in touch or visit the website for more information.