Localization: Your Key to Success in India

India has 22 official languages, use the right one

By Terena Bell

Why localize for India?

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:

22 official/major languages

122 main languages

1,599 dialects

13 written scripts


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

  • 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

  • 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

About Lionbridge

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.


Thinking of doing business in India? Read our “How to Win the Indian Market with Localization” white paper or connect with your Lionbridge representative to learn more.

linkedin sharing button
  • #blog_posts
  • #translation_localization

Sophia Eakins
Sophia Eakins