Local British languages

(Rhys Short) #21

I would love to see welsh as an option, and it would set monzo apart from other banks although the law may change this. As for COps impact, realistically it’s not going to be that high. For example my partner (who speaks welsh fluently) worked at a government call centre as the only welsh speaker, so the impact is probably only a few memebers of staff to be able to provide coverage and to cover holidays etc.

In all honesty being able to bank in welsh (without being compeled) would be a good way to attract more customers espciecally those who want welsh to be truly equal to English.


I agree regarding Welsh, as most Welsh speakers also can speak English. And from the technical standpoint apart from a different field length in files where translated words or sentances may be longer in some instances, there is not the issue of a different character set (save for accented characters) or having right to left rather than left to right.

The issues faced by Monzo will come on the COps side when a language is supported where there is a lower incidence of the speakers being bilingual in English, and on the IT side when a different character set is used such as Russian, Greek and Arabic.

It is far better Monzo look at the issue now than go ahead with a second or third language at this point only to discover later that the app needs a major rewrite to cope with certain languages. Have it able to cope with Arabic and Mandarin etc now and when they go global their won’t be any issues.

They also need to consider their policy on languages. Do they just support the official language of the unitary states they wish to do business in or any official languages of the regions within, e.g. Catalan etc in addition to Castilian, or do they also see what is actually spoken. For example the most common language in Latvia is Latvian, in Estonia is Estonian and Lithuania is Lithuanian, but across the three combines there may be more Russian speakers that there are speakers of one of the national languages. Do Monzo when they provide accounts in those areas provide for 4 languages not three? There are people born in the Baltics who are refused citizenship and a passport until they have a certain level in an exam on the official state language and culture. Provision of the one language but not the other in those countries will clearly show Monzo taking a side in a sensitive political issue and unintentionally supporting the Government and one half of society rather than all the people of the region.

I am sure Monzo don’t want to open a can of worms. They should think about the impact of foreign character sets and languages on their whole operation, IT, COps and marketting. However, from the lack of any contribution from Monzo it looks like they will wait until the issues are staring them in the face rather than preempt and plan in advance what they will do.

(Alex Sherwood) #23

You’ve outdone yourself there. You know that the team don’t reply to every post like this & anyway, it was posted at the weekend.

(Graham - Mental health professional) #24

Lot of heat generated and yet some very important points raised. Richard’s initial lengthy note was what he says it was - a pointer towards the technical challenges of introducing other languages.

Apart from his later pop at Monzo’s seeming response lag :grinning:, the issues he raised in terms of screen and display handling, ‘right’ v ‘correct’, and the all important question of disclaimer in the event of misunderstanding, are key and will no doubt be heeded by whoever gets the job of evaluating the case for multilingual content.

Regrettably, the seemingly simple plea for an app in another language inevitably blurs the issue with far deeper sentiments. Probably one for the long grass for now…


I appreciate it was the weekend, but in other threads where language support suggested I do not recall any reply indicating that Monzo have any thoughts yet on what technical approach they will take, how they will incorporate any translations and what additional testing they will envisage with certain languages/scripts, and will all programming languages used cope or will it require a different one, etc. If I missed this feel free to post a link.

(Alex Sherwood) #26

That usually means that they haven’t decided on an approach yet…& obviously it’s not going to be a high priority right now.

(Eve) #27

His fourth language? Wow, what other languages does he already speak?


Russian, British English (as opposed to American English), Estonian, and now Mandarin. His brother 4 years younger only speaks 3. He has not started learning Chinese yet.

(Eve) #29

I thought this was a salient point: especially when money is involved there needs to be a bit more checking as compared to a mobile game/ lifestyle app; you can’t have volunteers held responsible for a mistranslation, it would be very ugly legally

If Monzo is planning to expand into the EU it definitely would be worth being able to change the language eventually. I’d say languages like Mandarin and Arabic aren’t a high priority at the moment since a lot of people in Asia speak English anyway and it’s not necessary for the immediate target audience.

But I think Monzo should definitely make use of volunteers to translate/ have a sort of crowdsourced option where there are at least 4-5 checks before the team combs it to ensure everything is hunky-dory etc. If someone wants to start doing a translation now, maybe just put it as a side option in the app to a link in the forum/ separate site with a note that these haven’t been fully vetted.

This is a good point too, if Monzo wants to show that they value their customers/ try to be inclusive the option should be there for people who need or want it


With one project I worked on all the text in a medical app was made available in a spreadsheet that any user could complete a translation in an adjoining collumn and submit to the firm for checking. With an Insurance product I worked on for a Bank they employed translators to double check every translation.

For the monoglots in the community it may be a suprise how many languages are actually spoken just within Europe. The European Coordination Bureau of Lesser Used Languages has a long list and details of where language clusters are based. It may be useful if Monzo instead of rolling out to Europe as a whole decide to roll out to a few countries at a time. Second languages (weather officially recognised by the Government authorities or not) could also be used for marketing. Where companies such as WeSwap have done a foreign language version of a webpage e.g. in Polish it has acheived good ROI.

(Eve) #31

I actually managed to speak more English about Southeast Asia and be understood than I did in Europe. I assumed most people in France and Germany would speak English (arrogant of me) and there were many occasions I couldn’t communicate because of this (just pointing, hello, thank you etc.). I helped do Mandarin/ Japanese translations on a separate app called Habitica, and for every sentence needed there had to be people checking if it was right, etc.

(Bob) #32

In France I’ve found that the locals can be very open to speaking in English if they feel that your attempt at French comes from the heart but poorly executed. This ruse is more likely to get attention than just coming out in plain English :hushed:

(Eve) #33

My lecturer told me to speak in Mandarin first, have them ask “English?”, then speak English :joy:


That always a good approach. Weather you manage 3 words or a sentance in their language before they stop you and speak to you in English, it shows you are making an effort and is respected.