Do your fintech apps ‘wow’ global markets – or ignore them?

Fintech is a global industry. But are you speaking the same language as your customers? Here’s what you need to know about financial translation.

Fintech, a blend of the words ‘financial’ and ‘technology’, is all about innovation. The application of modern technology in the financial industry is transforming the way financial institutions around the world do business.

According to a recent PwC report, the majority of global financial services companies plan to increase fintech partnerships, as 88% express concern they will lose revenue to innovators.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift from traditional institutions to fintech apps. As a result, the world’s fintech sector is anticipated to increase by hundreds of billions of euros in 2022. Even so, this is only the beginning of fintech’s growth.

A multinational, multilingual market

Being based in the digital world, rather than the bricks-and-mortar world, fintech has huge opportunities for global growth. Indeed, the global fintech market was valued at nearly 115 billion euros in 2018 and is projected to reach 274 billion euros by 2022 – an annual growth rate of almost 25%.

Of course, fintech maintains one important aspect of the traditional financial industry: large amounts of documentation. And it all needs to be made available across multiple global markets. These include:

  • Annual and quarterly reports
  • Audit reports
  • Business plans
  • Compliance reports
  • Datasheets
  • Estimates
  • Financial press releases
  • Financial statements
  • Investment fund prospectuses
  • Investment reports
  • Management reports
  • Market analyses
  • Marketing material
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Risk analyses
  • Share issue reports
  • Stock market reports

…to name but a few.

Making all this written communication accessible to international customers requires a particular specialism: financial translation.

Details matter in the world of finance. A misplaced zero or a mix-up with a comma and a decimal point can have disastrous consequences. However, with countless cultures, highly specialised terminology and legal accountability across numerous jurisdictions, translating for the fintech sector can present some unique challenges.

How the Nordic fintechs went global

Despite the relatively small populations of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, the Nordic region is home to one of the most dynamic fintech centres in the world, attracting investment from around the world.

Between 2017 and 2020, innovative Nordic start-ups developed digital solutions to overcome the problems faced by the region’s financial institutions.

Their success encouraged increased investment, with the capital invested growing from 580 million euros to 1.4 billion euros.

In the first half of 2021, Nordic fintech companies raised 1.75 billion euros and is now home to almost 1,000 fintech companies.

One possible reason for the Nordic’s fintech success is that the region’s citizens are, on the whole, digitally savvy. In fact, when it comes to the adoption of new technology, the Nordic region is one of the most enthusiastic in the world.

Another reason behind the Nordic fintech powerhouse is companies’ understanding, right from the early days of fintech, that people expect and deserve a seamless, customer-centric digital journey, wherever they are in the world.

Swedish bank Klarna is Europe’s highest valued private fintech business. The company is mostly known for its interest-free financing model that offers shoppers an easy way to ‘buy now, pay later’. Expert in redefining the shopping experience for millions of people around the world, Klarna has embraced the challenge of financial translation. In fact, Klarna has gone beyond basic translation to fully localising its content.

This means, as well as creating its text in different languages, Klarna adapts it to suit local behaviours – for example, using local units of measurement and complying with local regulations – so that the content appears to have been made by and for the local market.

Graph on essential qualities for a financial translator

How to choose a financial translator

As one of the world’s most rapidly growing sectors, fintech has to adapt quickly to evolving terminology and governance. The best way to manage this is to partner with a language services provider with expertise in this field.

To help you choose a suitable financial translator, here are five essential qualities they should be able to demonstrate.

1. Multilingual financial expertise

Financial jargon can be a mystery to many native speakers, let alone those in international markets. Your fintech translation partner, therefore, needs to be comfortable translating highly specialised documents for financial professionals, as well as a simpler message for customers, in their native language.

2. Multicultural legal understanding

Financial laws and regulations differ from country to country. They are also constantly evolving. Being up to speed with the requirements of each international market, therefore, is a crucial part of any financial translation process.

3. Ability to translate numbers

If finance is all about moving numbers around, your language partner needs to be numerically dexterous across a variety of methods of calculating and presenting data.

4. Skilled in marketing

Brand identity can easily get lost in translation. As with any other business communications, it is important to maintain brand messaging when creating financial communications for different markets.

5. Agile and innovative

A proactive partner with an innovative approach that keeps pace with the fast-moving world of financial technology is essential when seizing new opportunities and growing new markets.

Build trust with fintech translation services

Trust is a prime factor when customers choose banking services. Common sense suggests that absolute clarity and understandability in all communications is key to building trust. So, with 76% of people more likely to buy goods or services online from a provider that communicates with them in their own language, it’s well worth the investment in providing, at the very least, a native-language mobile app or digital onboarding experience.

So, don’t take any chances. Delivering financial services in international markets must involve a detailed understanding of language, culture and local regulations, as well as an eye for maximising the marketing message.

If you’re a fintech company looking to succeed in the global marketplace, it’s a strategic imperative that you translate content for your global audience. Click here to discover how.