A few months into the global COVID-19 pandemic, the way you do your week’s grocery shopping has radically changed. Maybe your local stores were open for browsing, allowing you to walk in so long as you had a mask on. It’s likely — 3 in 10 Gen Zers and Millennials are doing so — that you bought your wares online for a curbside pickup. It’s also possible that you bought your vegetables straight from someone on Facebook, Wechat, or some other form of social media, where farmers are looking to bypass third-party vendors and get rid of their crops quickly.
Digital wallets are quickly transforming our daily lives, and the market is showing it. Hong Kong’s PayMe, one such digital wallet, was already seeing increased transactions before the pandemic. After the pandemic, the company saw 15,000-40,000 transactions involving surgical masks alone in a single day. In May of this year, the Brazilian fintech company PicPay processed six times the transactions of all of its 2019 numbers and hired 20% more employees during what has been declared a recession. In America, amid a frenzy of online donations in politically turbulent early June and the state-mandated shelter-in-place orders, customers stored more than $1.3 billion dollars in Square’s mobile wallet, the Cash app.
Online businesses increasingly chase omnicanality and flexibility in their stores, accepting payments more and more often from these bankless technologies. For many customers, peer-to-peer digital wallets can be an alternative to bank accounts. In the United States alone, about a quarter of Americans are unbanked or underbanked—meaning they don’t own a bank account.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 51% of underbanked Americans are foreign-born immigrants. However, these underbanked Americans, now flocking to Cash app, find few options in their languages. Cash app is only available in two languages: English and French. Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog, the most spoken languages in the US besides English, are not available.
These oversights of translation are huge losses not only for Cash app’s transactions, but for the businesses that increasingly accept Cash app payments. Research from Common Sense Advisory shows that non-English speaking consumers substantially prefer shopping in their native language. 79% of shoppers entirely avoid online services in English, the majority spending less time and buying fewer products from English websites.
Digital wallets and their users would undoubtedly benefit from more accessible languages. However, when it comes to online shopping or monetary transactions, ensuring quality translation is critical. It takes users 50 milliseconds to judge a brand by the look of their website. One look at a key slogan or phrase determines everything for a client. In that flash, digital wallets must establish trustworthiness with the user, or the user may feel their money is safer elsewhere.
Poor quality translations can cost a business. A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that nearly half of interviewed senior executives (especially those at Brazilian and Chinese companies) felt that mistranslations had actually halted major international business deals.
It is during this global pandemic that companies capture the opportunity to localize their content. Like eCommerce platforms, digital wallets need total content localization, from the manner in which users are culturally accustomed to providing payment to the attitude and tone of the app user experience. With a global network of expert linguists and subject matter experts in 250+ languages, CSOFT International has the cultural and linguistic expertise to deliver quality translations when and where they are needed.