Sibusiso Mondlana - Senior Language Specialist, FSCA

The digital revolution has had a transformative impact on all industries globally, and the translation and interpretation industry is no different. Language practitioners provide essential translation and interpretation services for our language-diverse nation.

Translation and interpretation services are a critical component to overcome language barriers and improve communication for limited-English proficient consumers. These services also lead to improved public service and help the government and the financial sector build stronger relationships and trust with the communities they serve. The financial sector has embraced digitization. We have seen how financial institutions are rethinking and digitizing their client interactions. The banking industry is looking to new technologies to accelerate growth as they face major competition from fintech start-ups and online banks.

Digitization offers customers more control, more choice and easier access to their finances, and offering this in the customer’s preferred language is a competitive advantage. In return, financial institutions are able to improve access to data that helps them understand customer behaviour and predict revenue growth and profitability. However, this requires ongoing investment in new tools and platforms and accurate localization of products and services to ensure they align with the indigenous languages of South Africa. The new world of digitizing the customer experience also affects a wide range of interactions that require supplementary financial education translated into all official languages online.

Very few consumers seem to want paper copies of things like annual reports, application forms and brochures anymore. For example, contactless transactions have increased significantly since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, with 78% of consumers wanting to continue using contactless payments even after the pandemic. The move to online reporting gives language practitioners more flexibility when it comes to project deadlines. But, with the printing of documents fast becoming a thing of the past, digital transformation must be executed carefully in a regulatory environment like the FSCA.

Financial sector language services providers are already experts in the linguistic side of these transactions. But, as the financial sector increases its efforts to digitize client engagement, the most successful financial sector language practitioner will also need to understand the technical aspects of app development and engineering. These multi-skilled language practitioners will play an increasingly more important role in providing linguistically diverse and high-quality financial services and education.


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