Localization in digital financial services: best practices to get it right

Part 2: Best practices: how to localize your digital financial services and who can help you

The localization helps to build trust. But do you know how to get it right, and who can help you?

Welcome back to Part 2 of my series about localization in financial services. In Part 1 I set a bit of context: how the development of the digital financial services has changed the customer journeys and what challenges it has brought. Now let’s have a look at how localization helps to build that essential element of the client relationship—trust— and what the best practices are to localize your digital financial services.

That feeling of distance and unease when the person you talk to does not seem to fully grasp what you want to say… Can you relate?

We can all identify with the problem of a language barrier.

Of course, this can even happen with two native speakers of the same language, but it is far more likely in a scenario where they do not share the same language.

Trust is established through language.

In the interview given to the International Finance Magazine, the CEO and Founder of Monese, Norris Koppel, talks about the advantages of using a multilingual banking app and how well Monese is progressing in its target markets:

“There are many advantages to 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 banking to be familiar. 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 your native language.”

(https://internationalfinance.com/is-a-multilingual-app-really-an-advantage-in-digital-banking/)

People rely on banks to provide a safe haven for their money, they are placing faith in that institution’s ability to provide sensitive services, securely. A shared language helps to build trust.

Best practices to get the localization right

So how do you make that customer journey seamless?

Here is my take on it:

1. Localize all actions your user will take – on websites and apps alike:

  • Translate the app or website content, of course, but also:
  • Checkboxes, drop-down menus, forms,
  • Static and dynamic content,
  • Any interactive features such as chatbots, push notifications, SMS and IVR helplines, and
  • Critical pages such as transaction pages and payment gateways, pages for login and management of account data.
  • If you collect data from clients, the input and output (think digital documents) must be available in the client language
  • Use high quality fonts to avoid any misreading characters. If misreading translates in money lost, your client will lose trust.

2. Translate your website

Website translation is no longer a “nice to have”. 75% of global customers want to conduct business in their preferred language.  (Read more about why this is the case in https://edittranslations.com/cant-read-wont-buy-why-should-you-localise-your-website/)

Translated content improves engagement and conversion rates. For example, for an American financial institution selling your services to Spanish-speaking clients, offering tailored, highly relevant content improves engagement and conversion rates. Hispanics have unique financial needs that banks can cater to, especially online in Spanish.

From the SEO perspective, the banking sites benefit greatly from this tailored content. In fact, they drive as much as 50% of traffic to a localized site.

The importance of trust in banking is not going away. This is money, after all. Getting the tone of voice right is crucial, and the objective should be the clarity of the message and building trust. Click To Tweet

3.  Hit the right tone when you talk to your clients

The new active population and fintech clientele were born in the 1980s and after. Some fintechs think that content and UX has to be informal, playful, and almost fun, as if all their clients were their “besties”. However, the importance of trust in banking is not going away. This is money, after all. Getting the tone of voice right is crucial, and the objective should be clarity of the message and building trust. Fun and cool, which many fintech companies want to embrace, is good, but not at the expense of understanding. What does work, on the other hand, is transparency, which in language terms will mean clear, jargon-free communication.

What an expert can do to help you localize your digital financial services or content

1. They will ask you detailed questions about the target audience and their needs (age, socio-professional profile, what problem are you trying to solve).

2. They will offer cultural consultancy.

For example, do you know that the level of informality or jokes may have to be substantially toned down or made subtler in French? Localization of digital banking projects are effectively transcreation when it comes to adapting the text.

Understanding cultural, legislation-related, and even political differences is key. Regulations have an impact on the linguistic choices. For example, the regulatory requirements will influence whether you can say “send money” or “send a payment” in Spanish, depending on the legal status of your organization. (according to Michael Reid, Nimdzi Researcher and Assistant Editor at MultiLingual Media)

3. They will aim to scope the project well according to your needs and budget. Here are a couple of examples:

Website localization – is it to be SEO optimised?

App localization – can you share screenshots or, if a new creation, mock-ups e.g., in Figma?

 Discuss your target market expectations: it is not just about the text and fonts in the app (and high-quality fonts must be used to avoid any misreading characters. Misreading => money lost => loss of trust).  It is also about localising the voice assistant, chat bots, SMS messages, push notifications, digital documents, transaction pages etc. A French client for example will expect all of this to be available in French.

4. They will ask about your post-release needs in customer service communication. Normally, users will be happy and expect just to use an app or website, but in case of a banking emergency or if something goes wrong, what language will they communicate in with the fintech’s customer service? Will the French website create a demand for French-speaking staff, and can they fill that demand? This is where continuous support and relationship with a freelance translator might help.

Key takeaways:

  1. Clients expect the financial services to improve their everyday lives
  2. The global context has increased the need for digital services, financial content, and advice.
  3. The clients are Millennials and Gen-Z, who value independence, speed, and convenience, but the importance of trust is not going away.
  4. Trust is established through language.
  5. To localize your digital financial service, you need to consider all the actions that a user can take on your app and translate your website.
  6. When talking to clients on a digital platform, be sure to hit the right tone of voice to come across as transparent and trustworthy.
  7. Talk to an expert in localization in financial services who will help you with the process.