Fintech localisation — it’s all about compliance…

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.

What type of localisation partner will help you meet your expansion goals?

What type of localisation partner will help you meet your expansion goals?

You’ve just raised a round of funding and the future’s looking bright, exciting, and just a little bit… what’s the word?

Scary.

What’s more, your latest funding comes with some pretty demanding milestones. You’ve done the research, but you need to have launched in Japan and two additional Western European markets by the end of the year.

No problem. You’ve seen loads of marketing stuff from localisation providers over the last few months. It’s time to give them a call…

You speak to a few, share some sample source files, and brush off several clumsy attempts to chase you for a decision within an hour of receiving some rough pricing.

Company A invites you to talk to one of their long-standing clients to see how they’ve rolled their market-leading SaaS product out to over 30 countries in the last decade.

Company B talks you through the process they use for receiving files, managing amendments, and returning localised files to you. They ask you to sign up so they can set you up on ‘the system’.

Company C tells you that if you sign up this week they’ll provide an additional discount of 25% for the first year.

So far, so good. But a colleague of yours has found a cloud tool you like the look of — it won’t do the localisation for you, but it will help you integrate the localised files into your workflow as you expand. You ask your shortlist of localisation providers about it.

Company A says they’d be happy to work with your tool, and offers some suggestions as to other ways they could help you manage the localised files before go-live.

Company B tells you that their client management system adds value at every stage of the process, and will fulfil your every wish. You end the call none the wiser as to whether they’ll work with the tool, but convinced their tool is powering the International Space Station.

Company C says they’ll use your chosen tool, forgets its name, and then asks whether an additional 10% discount per translated word would encourage you to commit this week.

You’re nearly there. But market conditions and a couple of minor technical hitches mean that the Japan launch is being put on hold in the short term and you’d like to accelerate the European launches. You’d also like to add Brazilian Portuguese into the mix. You call your prospective partners to let them know and see what impact it might have.

Company A sets up a call with their two co-founders and the Project Manager you’ve dealt with since the first call. One of the co-founders talks you through some of the challenges that other clients have faced when launching in Latin America and suggests tweaking certain elements to meet some unique cultural challenges in the region. You also get an email that evening with a link to a news story that relates directly to the conversation you had earlier.

Company B tells you the person you spoke to previously has left the company. They find the previous quote on their system and ask you to hold whilst they run the new language pair through their quote engine. Within an hour you have a new quote, after spending twenty minutes trying to log into their portal to retrieve it.

Company C answers on the first ring and asks if you’ve made a decision yet.

Now here’s the big question — which company do you choose to work with?

If it’s Company Awe should talk. You’ll like us.

If it’s Company Bwe should talk. And you’ll be pleased to know you won’t have to log into a portal to arrange it. You might also be interested in taking a look at this earlier article.

If it’s Company Cwe’re happy to talk, but you might not like what we have to say.

E-learning localisation — what’s in it for me?

E-learning localisation — what’s in it for me?

If you’ve read the first article in this series, you’ll be aware of just some of the things that should be considered when planning an e-learning localisation project. Given the time and cost implications of professional localisation, it’s fair to question what wider benefits you’re likely to see from your investment.

From a functional perspective, the ultimate objective of any localisation project is to ensure your e-learning assets share a common look, feel, and level of functionality across the locations in which they are to be used. Localisation should ensure your learning objectives are met regardless of the language, culture and location of your learning community.

So, what are the top 5 benefits you can expect to see from localising your e-learning content?

  1. Sweat your (e-learning) assets

There’s a lot to be said for creating a single e-learning programme and then adapting and localising it for all the locations you operate in. Whilst the initial investment is likely to be significant, it generally requires a single set of subject matter experts, one development platform, and delivers many associated benefits. Most of the cost in setting up an online programme will only be incurred once, rather than multiple times if developing custom training in-country. In summary, it’s an efficient and cost-effective route to take.

2. Consistent global message, delivered locally

By developing a standardised learning programme you can ensure that corporate policy is shared consistently across globally dispersed teams. Sales methodologies, internal processes, and regulatory requirements can all be applied consistently and reliably — significantly reducing risk in the process. In regulatory environments, a centralised audit trail can be a business-critical requirement.

3. Reduce peripheral training costs

Costs are reduced if local offices don’t need to develop their own custom training for in-country teams. Centralised provision of learning resources allows you to maintain full visibility and control of scope and budget, without fragmentation of resources and the potential for escalating costs.

4. Relevance equals retention

Teams absorb and retain information more effectively if it is delivered in their native language. Even for those who speak English as a second language, training delivered in their first language will deliver better learning outcomes. Case studies and interactive training are also far more effective when they are adapted to reflect local conditions and cultural norms. After all, even a simple business meeting will be conducted very differently in Japan to how it is conducted in the United Kingdom or North America.

5. Enhance global customer experience

By providing a consistent training approach across all areas of operation, quality is maintained and the customer experience is enhanced. Customers of all kinds expect a global organisation to deliver the same level of customer service wherever they operate. Localised training gives you the opportunity to embed and monitor best-practise standards across all your global locations.

Localisation of your e-learning assets can deliver significant cost-savings and wider corporate benefits. If you’d like to discuss how your organisation can take advantage of a centralised approach to global training, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Early considerations when developing global e-learning programmes

Early considerations when developing global e-learning programmes

The ability to deploy common training materials to a global workforce has brought significant advantages to organisations across the world. However, co-ordinating a training programme that is consistent, well-received, and effective across geographic borders remains a challenge for many organisations.

Even the most modest e-learning initiatives can be costly and time-consuming to plan, create and deliver. It goes without saying that any project of this type should be expected to provide a positive return on investment and measurable results ‘on the ground’.

Developing an e-learning programme for a global audience presents additional risks, all of which can be mitigated by working with the right localisation partner from the earliest stages of the project.

It’s crucial to remember that translation is just one part of the localisation journey. Many global e-learning projects fail to live up to their promise when the constituent parts are simply viewed as ‘content’ to be translated. The increasing sophistication of e-learning assets only adds to this potential problem, as we see greater use of video, voiceover and gamification in the delivery of learning material.

An effective e-learning localisation project will incorporate a diverse range of activities alongside core translation. Depending on the scope and sophistication of the project these may include:

Converting international formats

Elements like phone numbers, addresses, dates, and currencies will need to be converted into local formats. This aspect highlights the importance of early planning and consideration of localisation needs, as it can often be hard-coded into the e-learning platform itself rather than being dealt with at a later stage.

Customising images and graphics

Cultural adaptation is crucial when it comes to graphics. There can be considerable sensitivity in certain cultures to images that may be perfectly appropriate in another location. Your localisation partner will use in-country resources to ensure graphics are appropriate and resonate with the user group at which the programme is targeted. Where images contain embedded text, these will need to be translated to reflect the original message.

Content adaptation

On the subject of translation, let’s not forget that it is rarely appropriate to simply translate written content from one language to another, word for word. The art of effective translation lies in using professional translators who can communicate the underlying meaning, subtlety, and nuance of the source text in the target language. This ability and skill can dictate whether your localised e-learning programme succeeds or fails, and should not be taken lightly.

Localisation of video, voice-over and interactive elements

As e-learning becomes more sophisticated, so does your localisation strategy. Video resources and voice-over materials will need to be reproduced in-language. In the case of the former, subtitling can be a more cost-effective option and may be necessary where the video is not available in its original raw format. Interactive and gaming features can be addressed in many ways depending on their original format and coding. Whilst it can be simple or complicated, there is almost always a way to localise these elements effectively.

None of these elements should prevent you from deploying your e-learning programme globally, but they do highlight the importance of early planning and working with an experienced localisation partner. The benefits of e-learning localisation far outweigh any risks, which is why we’ll be looking at them at them more closely in the next part of our e-learning series.

In the meantime, if you’d like to talk to us about a project you’re planning — simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Is bigger always better when choosing a localisation partner?

Is bigger always better when choosing a localisation partner?

Whether you’re an ambitious technology firm making your first move into a new international market, or a global giant reviewing your strategy, buyers of translation and localisation services often turn to the largest providers first.

This is common in many sectors, not just localisation. What’s more, it’s sometimes understandable — the biggest providers are going to be the best, surely?

Well, maybe. Perhaps if you’re buying paperclips or envelopes.

But if you’re buying complex services, where flexibility, trust, and good old-fashioned customer service matters? Not so much.

We find that our clients, regardless of their size or profile, value flexibility and service over a 2% cost-saving every time. They often come to us from the largest language service providers (LSPs), complaining of being forced into rigid processes that don’t suit them and only being able to speak to faceless ‘account handlers’ who have no real appreciation of the nuances of your localisation strategy.

Iota also work with several early and mid-stage technology companies. In many cases these firms will have received VC funding and be committed to expanding internationally in the short to medium term. Working successfully with companies at this stage requires a unique combination of unwavering reliability, localisation expertise, and the flexibility to respond quickly to the demands of a rapidly-scaling organisation.

Very few of these requirements will be successfully met by a monolithic LSP who assigns their client ‘bronze status’ when they spend less than $1 million a year on localisation.

I came across a snippet on a large LSP’s website recently that I thought highlighted their approach in a single sentence. Look at the screenshot below and see if you can spot it:

Can you see it yet? Let’s zoom in:

That’s right — he recommends solutions based primarily on what it suits his company to provide. Not necessarily the best solution to the problem.

Surely that’s the wrong way around. As a client, wouldn’t you be looking for a localisation partner to provide a solution that solves your problem, not one that simply suits them?

Maybe it’s just us. Maybe we are the odd ones, crafting bespoke solutions to meet the unique challenges our clients face. Developing bespoke tools for individual clients that reduce costs and time-to-market. Hand-picking linguist resources that best match the objectives of the project.

I could go on.

But I’ll leave you with this. Whether you’re just starting out on the road to localisation, or managing an established localisation programme, ask yourself a few simple questions:

  1. Does my localisation provider consider me to be an important client?
  2. Do I adapt to their needs, or do they adapt to mine?
  3. Could there be a better way of doing this?

Answer them honestly, paying particular attention to the last question. If you’re in any doubt, get in touch and we’ll be pleased to explore the options with you.

Disclosure

Iota would probably be defined as a ‘small’ localisation provider in terms of employee numbers, global offices, and the usual metrics used to define these things. Despite this, we boast a place in Common Sense Advisory’s Top 100 LSP rankings and have worked for over a decade with some of the largest, most recognisable and respected technology companies in the world. If you want to speak to any of them to see if they regret not working with a ‘large’ LSP, let us know and we’ll put you in touch.