India has 22 official languages and thousands of dialects. People carry out their daily affairs in all these languages. Even in offices, banks, and schools one can hear multiple languages.
However, there are a few misconceptions about single language use in India.
- English is the business language in India – True to some extent. Especially in those corporate businesses where employees and dealers come from various language backgrounds, English is still used as a business language. However, the bank-to-business, business to dealers, Government to schools, banks etc. is seeing slow but certain shift from English as the only Business language. Even the property purchase agreements, trade union agreements, loan documents are being done in the native languages of the users. The trend is visible and increasing.
With #startup India, #Standup India, so many small and micro businesses are successful.
- Only English is used for formal communication – Hardly anymore. Though a lot of written and email communication still happens in English; banks, financial institutes, insurance companies, small businesses, schools, government departments are majorly switching to Indian languages to communicate to their dealers, students, parents, customers, citizens. So the B2B and B2C and G2B formal communication has started shifting to Indian languages.
- Indian people use internet in English – Thanks to cheap data packs, smartphones, and voice commands there is surge in use of internet in many languages. All the scripts are available on any smartphone. All the social media can be used in any language. To quote Mr. Rajan Anandan, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Google, “…the new users coming on board were very different from first 100 million users. The biggest different is 9 out of 10 users coming online are Indian language internet users. …” And this is of June 2022, I am sure the trend is more skewed in favour of Indian languages 8 months down the line.
- English is aspirational language in India – On a lighter note, neither the Queen, or Uncle Sam rules India. There is a complete disconnect between the income levels and the ability to speak English language. It is common that rich farmers, successful entrepreneurs, sports achievers, inspirational speakers, artists are great in what they do, and they are affluent by any standard. AND, not necessarily they can speak good English. More importantly, they do not feel any lesser of themselves because of this.
- Hindi is used in most States in India – India is a multilingual country. Hindi is spoken in northern parts of India. Though it is mostly understood throughout the country, the languages spoken in Eastern parts of India are Bangla, Assamese, Oriya. In Southern parts of India
Got it! So what is the language reality in Indian commerce?
- At least 5 languages are spoken in every State of India
- People increasingly use internet in voice in India.
- Google ads spend is increasing in Indian languages like Hindi and Telugu.
What is it for MY website?
If your target group is
• an Indian person between the age group 18 to 60,
• consumes your product or service or its alternative,
• uses internet, is present on social media,
Your website has to be multilingual.
Your SEO keywords have to be thought of in Indian languages.
Meta title and meta description of your webpages have to be in Indian languages.
https://dmr-india.com/ DMR mini washing machines have a country-wide consumer base. The target buyer needs to understand the features and the operations well. They are more comfortable in their native language. To experiment, DMR tried out in 3 Indian languages – Hindi, Kannad and Tamil. It took some time for users to see the language pages. Now the response to language pages is equal to their English pages.
https://mrkitchen.co.in/modular-kitchen-manufacturers/ Mr. Kitchen is in the business of high-end designer modular kitchens. Their target group is urban, local, young-to-middle aged and rich. Their in-shop or on-site experience told them that the prospects are more comfortable in communicating in local languages. They have chosen to have their website in Hindi to begin with and the response is encouraging.
https://tech.hindustantimes.com/tech/news/over-500-million-users-to-access-internet-in-indian-languages-by-2021-google-story-6SV7GlYWssoZZQjm4O5n6I.html#:~:text=According%20to%20Google%20officials%2C%20the,of%20non%2DEnglish%20Internet%20users. Referred on Feb. 10, 2023