Capturing the sociolinguistic
variations of India English
What's plain language to you may not be so plain to another.
Besides British and American English, there are other international varieties of English. Indian English is one such variety. it is influenced by the local languages, uses certain vocabulary, and even has its own grammatical norms. According to internal research by Google, only about 10% of the Indian population speaks English (120M people). However, many smartphone users have their devices set to English, even when they are better with Hindi or other Indian languages. 96% interviewed also said it was easier to type their native language using English characters. Hence, knowing and using Indian English is essential to creating an optimal user experience for our customers in India.
Towards this end, I actively visit India English websites, read the posts of our customers on the official Google Pay Facebook and Twitter accounts, seek the opinions of my colleagues from India, and ask the researchers whenever I have doubts. To share my findings, I created a living document that lists the words, terms, and phrases that are preferred in India. I also included some explanations of cultural concepts, definitions of acronyms, and expected formats like the address fields for a form.
My efforts have been noticed by the localisation (l10n) team and they are continuing this work I've started in an extensive way.
As I can't share the document I've created for confidentiality reasons, here's an example of a culture concept:
Bank transfer Generally understood to be the method of entering someone's bank account number and routing number. And usually to someone who does not have UPI ID (Unified Payment Interface ID) or who does not use a payments app like Google Pay, PhonePe, or PayTM.
DO NOT USE:Pay friends via bank transfer
Why?When a user says, "pay a friend", they are referring to payment by entering phone number or name on a UPI app like Google Pay, PhonePe, or PayTM. So semantically, you cannot do both at the same time – pay friends (use UPI ID) via bank transfer (enter account number).