Crypto Customer Service: The Role Translations Play in Cryptocurrency Adoption

October 20, 2022

Cryptocurrency, once the domain of fringe enthusiasts, has entered the mainstream. Now, CNBC tracks the volatile rise and fall of Bitcoin and Ether versus the US dollar on their chyrons. Elon Musk espoused the virtues of Dogecoin to his millions of Twitter followers, and even established fintech giants like Visa are investing in specially designed infrastructure to support crypto-native companies, such as enabling the settlement of transactions in USDC (USD Coin). Across social media, posts about cryptocurrency investments, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and cryptocurrency prices are trending.

Some may have only a passing familiarity with these digital assets, whereby investors have amassed (or lost!) a fortune trading in the cryptocurrency market. The truth is that this relatively novel technology has the potential to revolutionize the world of finance. Indeed, current analysts predict Bitcoin may hit $100,000 USD in 2023. But for this to happen, the virtual currency must overcome a huge hurdle that has plagued every other sector before and after: Language.

For financial institutions and conventional brokerages offering popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether (Ethereum), USDC, and Litecoin, how to support their clients in this new technology, across multiple languages and markets, is key.

The terminology challenges of cryptocurrency

There are a host of challenges related to launching a new currency, and the problems of slow adoption are intensified by the obstacles posed by language. 

Cryptocurrency is a relatively new phenomenon that is introducing brand-new terminology, and, as such, requires new translations. The language hurdles brought on by neologisms can make it challenging to get your marketing right. 

Getting the right terms is key for multilingual SEO, so that your clients can find your website in the first place. According to Unbabel’s Global Trends in Marketing Localization 2023, 41% of the surveyed marketers already localize SEO for all their markets, and the trend is only growing. However, when it comes to keywords, generic machine translation might lead you astray. For instance, try typing blockchain into Google Translate and asking it to translate it into Spanish. It will tell you that the right translation is cadena de bloques, but many languages adopt loanwords when it comes to new technology.

While it’s true that Spanish uses both the loanword blockchain and the literal translation, cadena de bloques, the first averages 40,500 monthly searches on and 27,100 on, while the second only 480 and 390, showing a clear preference for the untranslated term.

With all this sector-specific terminology, creating — and updating — a brand glossary can help financial institutions keep on top of the crypto lingo and ensure they’re using the correct terms across their markets and languages. Developing a customized glossary also helps train the machine translation engines, so they can translate crypto content at speed and scale. 

Assisting cross-border payments

As more people turn to cryptocurrency exchanges to circumvent traditional bank transfers and solve their international payments, businesses need to support their multilingual transactions. Notably, many migrant workers from El Salvador in the United States have been sending money home with cryptocurrency — to avoid the sometimes significant transaction fees, sometimes reaching as much as 12.5% for a USD $100 transfer.  

But turning to new technology to look after your hard-earned paycheck can be nerve-wracking. Delivering clear information and FAQs can relieve clients and help smooth the process, and, in turn, reduce the pressure of queries that come to customer support teams. These FAQs, guides, and apps need to be localized in the language of the crypto buyer and seller, which in the case of migrant workers sending money home could be in the language of both the people who buy crypto and those who sell crypto, so everyone can understand the process. 

This is on top of the software localization that needs to occur for cloud and mobile apps, from overall design and UX, to details such as phone number and currency localization, that businesses need to implement to facilitate multilingual cryptocurrency exchanges.

Industry-leading customer support across multiple markets

Understanding and then explaining the complexities of cryptocurrency is challenging, and doing it in real time, to a confused or even disgruntled customer, is even more so. It’s a skill that businesses expanding over new languages and markets don’t want to lose. And training new customer support agents is time-consuming and costly. Investing in a Language Operations solution, like Unbabel, allows businesses to hire for skill, rather than language. 

As the cryptocurrency market continues to peak and trough, adopting a flexible language solution allows customer support teams to expand and contract across markets and languages, and scale for peaks in customer activity as needed. This way, customer support teams don’t need to finance whole departments of multilingual agents, who might only be needed for limited periods of time. 

Comprehension begins with translations

Cryptocurrency is a long way from replacing fiat currency, debit cards, and credit cards. But conventional financial institutions and newer fintech crypto exchanges can help people get comfortable with making cryptocurrency transactions.

To do so, cryptocurrency providers will have to take intentional steps in making crypto trading easier to comprehend, and that begins by providing language translation and localization across financial products. Translations are key to accelerating adoption, and only then, will cryptocurrency be in a position to change the world. 

Don’t let your crypto localization leave you feeling FUD: Talk to our experts about a language solution that’ll make your multilingual customers (and their crypto wallet) happy.  

About the Author

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Diana Afonso

Diana Afonso is Director of Technical Support at Unbabel. With over eight years of experience in the customer support field, she has a strong history of success in empowering and engaging customer support teams, driving quality, and acting as the voice of the customer to deliver a rewarding customer experience.