On the surface, the linguistic and cultural localization of a fintech product can look very similar to any other software project. After all, the translation of externalized strings, in-context review, and linguistic QA are all staples of the software localization process. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that effective fintech localization can bring with it some additional complications.
The first is the nature of the industry itself. Fintech and its close allies of insuretech and regtech have all grown as legacy financial products and their providers have failed to keep up with an increasingly technology-enabled market. A disruptive and innovative approach is deeply ingrained across the industry, and this brings with it fast-moving, agile organizations that are in many cases the opposite of traditional financial institutions.
Successful fintech companies need partners who can move as fast as they can, scale as quickly, and mirror their agile approach. These aren’t attributes often associated with the largest and most well known localization and translation vendors. Not unlike the large financial institutions they have previously served, the largest localization vendors are often unable or unwilling to deviate from long-established processes and approaches to meet the unique needs of fintech providers.
Simply put, your localization partner needs to be flexible enough to help you deliver localized products in new markets that offer the same user experience as your English-language product.
It goes without saying that any localization provider you choose to work with must have the core software experience necessary to handle your files with appropriate care. Can they work with your file types directly? Do they have the flexibility to manage the inevitable quirks and product-specific requirements that often show up when working with resource files, or do they expect everything to fit perfectly?
If we’ve learned anything from nearly 20 years of software localization it’s that in any new localization project there will inevitably be complications. It’s how your partner handles these challenges that really matters. If your partner won’t or can’t help you work through them – walk away.
At the core of any localization project is language, and this is another area where fintech companies need to take care. The lexicon of financial services is changing as quickly as the industry itself, and your translators need to be as familiar with software and UX as they are with financial terminology.
Working with a localization partner who isn’t prepared to select translators individually to work on your product is a mistake. A translator used to working on written mortgage terms and financial documentation isn’t necessarily the best person to work on the UI strings for a payments app. However obvious this may seem, you might be surprised to see how many localization providers select translators based purely on a generic keyword of ‘finance’.
That’s not to say that the careful selection of translation resources is a substitute for project specific glossary development. Every fintech company will have their own terminology, product names, preferences and brand voice. Your localization partner should work with you to identify these linguistic elements and have processes in place to ensure your preferences are applied consistently across all the projects they do for you.
The localization of a fintech product isn’t simple, but done right it can be the difference between succeeding in new markets and failing badly.