Who would win Kannada or Tamil

Conquering the Indian Market: A Guide for Localizers Who Want to Get Started

Imagine this: the launch of your company's new website is imminent. You have worked on it for months, everything is ready to go. Suddenly the boss tells you that the company is expanding into India. And it is not a simple expansion where you can get a taste of the market by means of test sales, but a comprehensive market entry throughout the country. This means that you are now responsible for fully locating the product and marketing materials and coordinating them for simultaneous shipping. You have never been to India and don't really know much about the country. So the first way is to go to the Internet.

What language localize for in India?

According to national surveys, 122 languages ​​are spoken in India, 22 of which are government recognized. So where do you start here? In geography. In terms of language, India functions like many other countries: The people usually live in the same areas as others who also speak their language. This means that these 22 official languages ​​are largely regionally separated. Gujarati in Gujarat, Assamese in Assam and so on. However, most companies do not consider all languages ​​for localization. This is especially true for companies that are new to the market. Exporters usually start at the top: Hindi, Urdu and Bengali are the three most widely spoken languages ​​in India. Hence, you usually start with them. However, if your boss says that the product tests will take place in the south, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil will join them. Next, you will be asked by the recruiters in charge of product reviews to add Marathi to the selection. And you're in the process of localizing in seven languages. It can already feel like it's 22 because it's just a lot of work.

Our localization experts will be happy to advise you.

The good news, however, is that you've already gained some acceptance. Many localization managers struggle to get senior management to see the value of their work and raise budgets when they ask. These managers often have to prove that translation serves as a profit driver and not as a cost factor that it is viewed as by the less globally oriented companies. People don't buy something they don't understand. According to the Common Sense Advisory, 55 percent of consumers worldwide do not buy from non-language ecommerce websites. In India that number is even higher: 90 percent of consumers expect full localization of products and marketing materials.

Localization professionals often need to produce such statistics to show that their jobs have a raison d'être and that translations are necessary in the first place. Your luck is that your boss is already convinced of it. He's the one who came up to you and asked you to take on this big project while managing the translations for a brand new market of over a billion people. In order for the venture to succeed, you need a deeper understanding of the Indian market landscape.

What are the special features of localization for the Indian market?

If you do further research on India, you will find that the country is the second largest smartphone market in the world, ahead of the United States. In 2022, Indians will own a total of 700 million smartphones. The rapid spread of smartphones in India is due in part to their affordability. Retailer Flipkart sells 4G phones starting at 4,499 rupees (about $ 63.54). The contracts are accordingly cheap: According to the newspaper The Times of India, it is around USD 0.26 per GB per month, while in the USA it is still USD 12.37. The data is so cheap in India that India now has the world's highest data usage rate per device.

These networked customers are increasingly processing e-commerce and e-transactions on mobile devices, using platforms such as the Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and Paytm shopping apps. In a society that is currently moving from cash-based to cashless transactions, ewallet apps are also increasingly being relied on to make purchases.

With regard to translation, it is crucial to keep in mind that cell phones play a prominent role in this market. Adaptive design may be the best approach for American and European websites, but when it comes to localization for India a transcreation redesign may be required depending on what the new, target language UI looks like on the phone. If the original source language website is optimized for a different device, you will need to schedule additional user experience testing.

Which localization strategy for India?

This is especially important when targeting younger generations. “Look at the 'new generation' of Indians between 25 and 35 years old. They consume practically all content virtually via their mobile phone and also use it to process transactions, ”explains Sarath Divella, County Head for India at Lionbridge. In contrast to mobile users from the USA, who do various tasks on computers and occasionally on tablets, according to Divella, young Indians are “not among those consumers who have many different devices. Often they only have one device: their mobile phone. ”It would not even“ occur to them to get a desktop or laptop computer ”.

This generation has become an independent purchase class. Around 440 million millennials, as young people were born between the late 1980s and 2005, currently live in India. In 2030, 77 percent of all Indians will either be Millennials or Generation Z, which describes those born after 2005. They represent a social group that avidly uses not only the Internet but also social media. Millennials in particular get their buying information from the internet and social media. This affinity for technology is not only decisive for how optimized your company's mobile website needs to be, but also influences the marketing message itself. Indian millennials are well-informed, smart, and knowledgeable consumers who can quickly find out what they want and if it really is what your business has to offer.

Therefore, according to Divella, they buy “with functionality in mind. They are not consumers who are concerned about their status and want to brag about their watch, smartphone or other item. Indians are concerned about the function and the benefit. "He adds:" The reasons for buying are very pragmatic. Therefore, it is problematic if your current marketing strategy is based on looking cool and keeping up with the others This type of content does not require translation, but requires localization, and in some cases full transcreation, to cater to the critical market. You can find out what service is in demand by looking at the age groups in each state and how mobile devices are in the The more connected the consumer base, the more likely they are to make informed purchasing decisions that are not based on “want to be cool?” Statistically, connected consumers are more likely to use premium services and become loyal customers of a brand, and that not only in India but everywhere: The linguistic accessibility according to purchase affects 74 percent of consumer purchasing decisions worldwide. This brand loyalty determines which content has to be translated after the market launch so that the company can acquire regular customers.

Unique success through localization in India

With Indian consumers being so picky, there is one crucial question you need to ask yourself: Unless they can rely on your company to provide them with information in their own language, will they choose those who can in the future? Despite misjudgments, India is not a country where English is spoken primarily. Rather, it is a holdover or colonial thinking that is simply wrong. In fact, only 10 percent of the population speak fluent English. And even in these cases it is not the mother tongue. As troublesome as it sounds to get to market in so many languages, the increase in sales for your business will prove it was worth it. While there are 22 official languages ​​in India, the right localization and deployment strategy can provide you with unique results. Learn more about localization for India in our white paper or contact us.