A Language Now Feeding The Localisation Industry

Vineet Bajpai, CEO & Founder, Magnon Sancus, describes how a team of language experts is serving the internet users in India, including the 400 million Hindi speakers


Hindi as a language has always been addressed as the mother-tongue by millions of people in northern states of India. It has seen the affection of the wide stretched Ganga-doab belt in numerous dialects — Braj, Awadhi, Bundelkhandi, Maithili among others.

It has been enriched during the process of assimilation of several cultures over several centuries, and also absorbed new vocabulary during British rule. The language has also been a matter of political contestation in post-Independent India.

In the present scenario, especially in the world of work, is emerging as a significant medium to provide employment through ‘localisation industry’.

A KPMG and Google report estimated that the Indian language internet user base in India would be 536 million in coming years. There are numerous companies that work for various other global leading firms to localise/translate their content and scale up the audience reach for them. Magnon Sancus is one such company that functions as the medium of big firms to reach out to a layman of the country.

On this Hindi Diwas 2022, we speak to Founder& CEO of Magnon Sancus, Vineet Bajpai to elaborate the role of Hindi in localisation business and role of this business in the overall economy.

Localisation is one of the biggest emerging segments in media industries. Tells us about the journey of Magnon Sancus. What was the major push behind establishing a localisation company?
Magnon has been in the advertising and marketing business for more than 22 years. We have witnessed the digital journey of consumers as well as the transformational era of advertising in the Indian market. Today, with 80 percent active mobile internet users, India is the 2nd largest internet user base in the world. The new consumers are conscious of their culture and communication preferences. With 9/10 users coming online being native-first, culture-proofing brand identity and communication is no more an option but a dire necessity.

Initially, Magnon, as a part of the worldwide network, was providing localisation services to some of the biggest global companies and the demand was ever-growing since 2016. The business grew multifold over the years, as we focused on the consumer and market needs. Therefore, with the purpose of serving the accounts better with advanced research and expertise, and also to cater to the vernacular needs of brands, the language & cultural services arm, Magnon Sancus was formally established in the year 2020.

We have grown to be a massive team of linguists, working in tandem to create culturally sound communication which appeals to people’s hearts. Our team today comprises 150+ language and culture experts and over 3,000 freelancers across the globe working for multiple clients. The team localises approximately 22 million words every year. We are facilitating the growth of the marketing industry in India with regional advertising and a lot of focus on user experience.

How do you see the localisation industry as the promoter of the Hindi Language?
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and accounts for 15 percent of global growth. If businesses want to make the most of the various growth opportunities in the Indian market, they should localise their business content to local Indian languages.

Indian consumers are mapped as 400 million Hindi speakers and 70 million English speakers. The percentage of Hindi-only Internet users is also soaring, especially in rural India, where some 134 million Internet and 87 million mobile-Internet active users are based. The stats make it clear how the Hindi localisation market offers a wide opportunity.

Directly or indirectly, the localisation efforts in Hindi also serve the purpose of promoting it to Indian consumers. Brands offer a fair choice to consumers by providing them content and services in both languages.

A plethora of services these days are available in Hindi, including websites, content videos, blogs and map directions. All this is a testament to a culture promotion in progress.

How is Hindi localisation different from localisation of other Indian languages?
It is a very interesting subject to look at, as Hindi has been continuously evolving. The language has existed on the Indian subcontinent for a long while and it has imbibed various cultures across geographies and time periods.

Modern-day Hindi is very different from what was spoken as recently as 50 years back. There are many words and jargon in Hindi which need to be translated with utmost care, keeping in mind the ability of the consumers to comprehend them. There is a saying in India, that the dialect here changes every 100 km. The big Hindi-speaking belt has many unique dialects, and it is a significant fact to consider while catering to the regional audience. A simple standard approach will not suffice. This uniqueness is not limited to the dialects, but it also depends on the comprehension and needs of the target audience. For instance, grammatically correct traditional Hindi content would not work for the language fluid Gen-Zs. All these factors differentiate Hindi localisation from other languages.

The Hindi translation horizon is now not just limited to the Indian boundaries but is soaring high on the global platform as well. It is a matter of great delight to witness it succeed as one of the most demanded languages in the world. Considering Hindi is the native language of the world’s second-largest population, businesses are aiming for a new customer base globally.

What are the factors and loopholes that this industry needs to work on?
There is more to localisation than a few translated words. Translating the whole part of communication takes a lot more. Appealing to a section of new demography requires attention to detail. It could be a gesture or a slang or the sound that a word makes. I would say the concept of ‘Transcreation’ is what the industry lacks. It is imperative that while adapting a message from one language to another, the intent, style, tone, and context is maintained.

Cultural sensitivities are another area of concern as one treads on the path of localisation. Culture is something that takes centuries to perfect itself, but it takes only minutes to expose another’s imperfection. Brands ought to pass this test of culture in order to flourish in that market.

We have devised a model named MILE (Magnon Index for Language Experience). MILE is a comprehensive assessment of the experience a native-first user has while interacting with the various

touchpoints of a brand. It’s our continuous effort to help clients tap the market beyond the English and Hindi language landscape. Some of the examples of this model’s success are Nestle, HP, and P&G, as well as two of the big four global tech giants.

At Magnon Sancus, we are constantly working towards improving the experience a brand has while communicating with native-first users. We take care of small but impactful bits to enable a seamless localisation process, including cultural consultation and transcreation.

There is a growing trend of teaching foreign languages instead of focussing on Hindi and Indian regional languages? How is this going to affect the localisation industry in the long run?
It is very important to see language as an enabler to comprehend cultures and societies, globally. We as a nation have been very adaptive to new cultures and languages, which is reflected in the willingness of our education system to include foreign languages in classrooms. However, over the last few years, the government has also made earnest efforts to promote our indigenous languages which is a matter of pride for us.

We need a more inclusive curriculum for school education which does justice to standardisation as well as localisation of the syllabus. It opens a new dimension of the need-based customised vernacular syllabus. As the Indian education system is shifting towards digital and tech-enabled platforms, localisation can contribute towards a language-inclusive education for all.

Another significant horizon for the future of localisation is the massive demand for content and the vernacular adaptability associated with it. The earlier translations were limited to brochures and user manuals. But in the new digital era, global giants and content aggregators like Amazon, Apple, Netflix and many more are creating and procuring vernacular and transcreated content. It will not be wrong to say that the scope and demand for localisation is definitely going to rise in the future.

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