Last Updated: October 18, 2019 4:55PM
By Terena Bell
Why localize for India?
- Economic powerhouse: India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country currently accounts for roughly 15% of all global economic growth.
- Vital global market: By 2025, India will be the world’s third-largest consumer market with the largest middle class on the planet.
- Explosive growth: World Economic Forum predicts a 4x increase in consumer spending by 2030, fueled by a projected 1 billion internet users.
But unlike other economic leaders, India is not unified by a single, common language. Rather, it is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse places on earth:
English-language dominance is a misconception
While English may still be the unofficial “language of business” in India, only 10% of Indians speak fluent English today. Most Indians prefer to learn about and buy products in their native language, whether it’s Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil, or something else. Effective marketers understand the importance of connecting with Indian consumers in their own language.
- Nearly 70% consider content in their language more reliable than information in English.
- 50% of brick-and-mortar Indian consumers said they’d switch to online channel if it websites were in their language.
What you need to know about translation and localization for India
1. Digital is king
- Proliferation. India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market. By 2022, India Today says Indian consumers will own nearly 700 million smartphones. Mobile adaptation is strong both in rural and urban areas.
- Convergence. This new mobile reach — combined with the Internet’s e-commerce abilities — is turning millions of formerly out-of-reach Indians into avid consumers who buy on platforms like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, and paytm.
2. The Indian consumer is rapidly evolving
- Upward mobility. Incomes keep rising. Today, around 50% of households in India are considered middle class. This number is expected to rise to nearly 80% by 2030.
- Millennials and Gen Z lead the way. With their tech-savvy consumption, these are the consumers who make markets. By 2030, a staggering 77% of Indians will be Millennials or Gen Z (born after 2005).
- Women are gaining. Women now have the legal right to be the “karta,” the Hindi name for a head of household. They make independent purchases that used to be reserved for men, such as homes and cars.
3. Linguistic diversity is intrinsic to India’s heritage
- Language can divide. India’s 29 states are linguistically divided and often have ethnic and historical differences as well. Even when an individual speaks more than one language, she may prefer to speak and read in her mother tongue only. And she may take offense to people who try to impose their language on her.
4. The future tells us localization is a must
By 2021, there will be 201 million Hindi-speaking Internet users, a number far greater than those who speak fluent English. Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu speakers will also constitute 30% of the Indian language user base.
Win in India by establishing a better localization supply chain
Discard the freelance model.
Unmanaged, freelance translators often lose the vibrancy content has in its original language. But managing them on your own often presents logistical and quality control challenges.
Hire a localization expert that offers
- Years of experience in the Indian market
- A full range of localization services—including translation and transcreation — each of which captures local nuance, idioms, and dialects
- Translation technologies such as AI and machine translation
- Complete scalability
- Technology integration with your current tech platforms
With more than 100 Indian-born translators, Lionbridge partners with brands to break barriers and build bridges in India and across the world. For more than 20 years, we have helped companies connect with global customers by delivering marketing, testing and globalization services in 350+ languages.
Through our world-class platform, we orchestrate a network of one million passionate experts in 5,000-plus cities, who partner with brands to create culturally rich experiences. Relentless in our love of linguistics, we use the best of human and machine intelligence to forge understanding that resonates with our customers’ customers. Based in Waltham, Mass., Lionbridge maintains solution centers in 26 countries.