I am all for the country of Scotland and the principality of Wales supporting their historic languages but whilst a source of national pride it has to be admitted that they are effectively the language of certain regions and in most regions English is the mother tongue. While language can be a source of identity it is also a source of division and discrimination. I don’t think Monzo should be involved in the provision or translation of it’s app into all the languages our users may speak, not only due to added customer support issues (in app and telephone support in Cornish for example) but with certain foreign languages it could be seen to be making a political statement if it supports a language from a contentious nation, former nation or wannabe nation.
From a technical standpoint the solution is to have a separate standalone language file that is not baked into the app. Then anyone who wishes to translate the app into French, Esperanto, Klingon, etc may do so.
However there can be issues handling certain languages such as Arabic which go Right to Left instead of Left to Right, or non Latin script such as Korean or Mandarin. Having worked on a project where we created the first bilingual Arabic/English electronic underwriting system I know there were far more challenges than just the language translation, such as field length, character set display, etc. so Monzo technical guys will endoubtedly have to do more testing work using any translation files to see if they trigger any additional errors.
And if your program or app contains translated text you as a company want to check any translations not only for not only being a right word but the correct one in the context, in order to protect your reputation and avoid any liabilities.
So while multiple language provision is something I support, it may be more complex than users assume with possible technical issues as well as the simple translation of every little bit of text displayed in every menü, button or error message.
I think Monzo would need to think about:
- technically how is the best way to build it
- what extra time and resources may be needed for testing new app versions with the various language varients
- if supporting certain languages will this create support issues with users with little grasp of English using a translated variant of the app needing customer support and if so will Monzo recruit certain language staff, e.g. Urdu, Spanish etc
- how will Monzo tackle liability issues, will they take responsibility for what is displayed and any instruction given by a translated varient of their app or say the user is responsible for any error, will they have disclaimers in the app, or contract independent translators to check any user generated translations prior to their use by the wider community
It will be great to hear Monzo’s thoughts on this.