In an innovative industry such as banking and finance, there are always new products and concepts as well as terminology that keep being updated. Translation companies have to keep abreast of the developments in the finance industry because financial translations are often complex.
The work of a translator is not easy and doing financial translations requires expertise and years of experience. Globalization enables banks and various types of companies to establish offices and headquarters in different parts of the globe. While English may be the language of business, it is vital for financial institutions to communicate and provide critical information in different languages; hence financial translation is very important to the banking and finance industry.
What is financial translation?
Financial translation deals with the translation of documents related to the economy, finances and banking. It involves a wide range of topics and types of reports and documents. Financial translation requires the deft touch of a subject matter expert, who is highly trained as a translator and has years of experience in the field.
Key challenges in doing financial translations
Financial translation is not for a newbie translator. It requires an extensive knowledge of the industry as well as the specific language or terminology that is needed by a particular topic or subject. Even financial translators who are already experienced might still face a few challenges.
1. Changes in financial terminology
Many financial terminology are in English but there are also financial terms that are unique to other countries. Some countries have not yet updated their financial dictionaries, making it difficult for financial translators to find equivalent terms. For example, many of the new financial terms in English do not have equivalent terms in Russian. If the new terms do not have equivalents in other languages, the financial translator has to find a way to explain the term. This means that the translator has to draw from his or her own experience in the field to find a word or phrase that will be equivalent to the new term.
2. Differences in formatting
Document formatting for some may not matter but in other countries or even in other companies, formatting matters. A pay slip in the United States for example will be different from a pay slip in France. Therefore, when translating financial documents, it is essential that the translator should be knowledgeable in the formatting requirements of each country or company in order to deliver an accurate presentation of the translation in the requested language as well as satisfying the client who expects the information to be where they are used to finding them.
3. Economies and currency exchange rates vary
The financial translator should always be up to date when it comes to currency exchange rates which can fluctuate greatly based on the economic conditions in the countries using the specific currency. When doing the translation, the translator has to factor in the most current currency exchange rate to ensure that the information is accurate.
Financial translation involves more than standard translation where written content is translated into another language. Financial services include insurance, investment and banking, each one requiring a different set of terminology.
Financial translation is more demanding because the financial concepts and language differ from country to country, requiring that the translator assigned to the project should be an expert in the specific subject matter. Some countries also have particular guidelines for financial documents in terms of numbering, formatting and use of specific terms. The variances might be slight and easy to miss if the translator does not understand the unique and explicit needs of financial translation.
Some of the types of financial documents that are often translated are the following:
- International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) documents
- Regulatory documents
- Business plans
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
- Balance sheets
- Auditor's reports
- Annual reports
- Foreign exchange
- Reports for the securities and exchange commission
- Tax reports
- Documents related to insurance
- Public and private offerings
- Financial agreements
- Benefits statements
- Retirement plans
- Application forms
- Client meetings
- Employee benefits meetings
From this list, you can see the different types of financial documents and discern that the translation style for each document would vary.
There may be several variations in the styles and formatting of financial documents, but financial translators have best practices they follow when handling financial translations.
Many companies have gone global and several companies have multinational staff, hence translation is essential to them. In order to facilitate communication and to ensure that all stakeholders understand each other, they need translation services providers. Many global companies need translators and interpreters when conducting meetings and conferences.
Like any other industries, there are particular techniques and rules that financial translators employ in order to be successful in delivering their language services that are tailored to the specific needs of clients at particular times.
1. Background knowledge in finance
When you have international banks as clients, it is evident that they will have to work with the specific rules set by the target countries. In order to do so, the banks need accurate translation of a variety of documents, including legal paperwork. Since the population is often diverse, international banks also requires the translation of legal documents and marketing materials translated to fit different target audiences.
The translator should have the right background and experience in finance to understand the source document, which may have complicated language and terms that cannot be easily understood by ordinary citizens. The translator must be fully knowledgeable not only in the target language/s but also in the ways to adapt the financial language to all types of audiences.
This means that the translator handling financial translations should be a subject matter expert and has experience in a specific field. This is essential as mistakes can affect the credibility of the bank. There are so many details to consider such as numbers as well as the legal jargon used in the banking sector, particularly when it comes to opening accounts, applying for loans and other financial transactions.
2. Document analysis
In the finance sector, terminology is one of the major hurdles. A financial translator must have the specific background to understand the type of financial document to be translated. Proper understanding of the document should be accompanied by the awareness of the issues involved in the document. There could be some history involved, which could be learned from the context of the source document. In such cases, the translator has to do research. This is often the case when it comes to international companies and banks.
After the translator has fully understood the document, he or she should find the ambiguities within the content and try to understand them as well. This should be done prior to beginning the translation so that delay in the translation process is minimized or avoided. It is also important for the translator to clarify information that might be confusing or ambiguous.
Doing a thorough analysis of the document before starting the translation work enables to the translator to work unimpeded, so translations can be finished and delivered on time.
3. Avoiding mistakes
English is still one of the main languages used by different financial institutions even in Europe. However, several countries want to use their own language for documents. They also require interpreters for conferences because they want to be assured that they are getting the right information and that the terms and concepts are used correctly.
Since financial institutions deals with factual information and details, especially in dates and numbers are very vital to them, the financial translation is careful not to make a single mistake. You can say that in financial translation, perfection is essential.
The financial translator should have broad knowledge in international banking and finance. The financial environment is dynamic and flexible so the translator must be able to adapt to the changes in the sector. He or she should always be up to date in the latest developments and innovations in the finance sector. For a financial translator, continuous learning is vital.
4. Attention to details
A financial translator should be greatly responsible and his/her attention to details should be at a higher level. Financial documents contain a variety of information, including names, dates, numbers and amounts, terms and conditions, and specific terminology. It is the responsibility of the translator to ensure that everything should be translated accurately, not only in the language but in the specific format that each country or company requires. The translator should see to it that the proper formats of dates, names, addresses and phone numbers for a specific country are followed.
It is critical to observe the number formats and use of separators. In Europe, most countries use commas as decimal separators. The UK still uses the decimal point because it follows the Imperial System. Liechtenstein and Switzerland use a point as their decimal separator but use an apostrophe to separate the thousands.
The decimal point is used in New Zealand, Australia and other countries in Oceania, and in Canada and the United States, but in Canada's Francophone areas, the comma is used. In Central America and countries closer to the region, the decimal point is used whereas in several countries in South America, the comma is used as the decimal separator. The decimal comma is used in Cameroon, South Africa and Zimbabwe while the decimal point is used is Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana.
In Asian countries, the decimal point is used in several countries, such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and China. But the decimal comma is used in Mongolia and Indonesia.
Financial translation needs to be precise and exact, which is why a good financial translator has to follow the best practices employed in the field. He or she should be a subject matter expert. The translator must have good organizational skills, a keen eye for details and must know the right financial terminology. Communication with the client is important to ensure that nothing remains ambiguous.
We understand the financial industry
Most translation clients have short deadlines and we understand that. Day Translations, Inc. is known for delivering translations at the shortest time possible. We establish rapport with clients early so that we can build a close working relationship. Fully understanding the needs of the clients helps make the translation process faster and smoother, resulting in highly accurate work that uses the right terminology the client uses.
Our translators are native speakers and we can connect you with a subject matter expert to handle your specific business translation requirements quickly. They are located around the world so they can accept your project any time. Moreover, we are open 24/7, every day of the year, so waiting time is eliminated. We can handle every aspect of translation as we offer a full suite of language services. If you need translation, localization, interpreting and other language services, give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us.
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