Financial translation is one of the most demanding language services with little room for error. Any issues with financial documentation can have serious implications for businesses, especially when talking about tax records, contracts and anything else of legal significance.
In this article, we discuss the biggest challenges of financial translation services and how you can overcome these with a carefully-crafted translation strategy.
Financial translation comes with a unique set of challenges that other language projects may not face necessarily. Specialist expertise is required when it comes to managing a financial translation strategy to avoid any costly mistakes and ramifications. These can be particularly severe if translation issues compromise compliance with regulations in any given market.
Here is a summary of the top challenges faced with financial translation:
- Specialisms: Financial translation includes a variety of specialisms, including tax and accounting, insurance, investment, research, corporate reporting and more – all of which require specialist translators with proven experience.
- Financial terminology: Each field within the financial industry has a wealth of technical terminology that the translators you use in a given project need a fluent understanding of.
- Confidentiality: Financial documentation contains sensitive information about businesses, customers, employees and financial operations. All of these need protecting.
- Numerical figures: Numerical figures need adapting for each local market with 100% accuracy (currencies, conversions, formatting, etc.).
- Market variations: Laws, regulations and cultural factors (e.g. colour interpretation) all vary from one market to the next and your documentation needs localising to meet these requirements.
- Compliance: All translated financial documentation must comply with local regulations with 100% accuracy.
- Turnaround: Given the high demands of financial translation, fast turnaround times are a constant challenge that should never compromise quality.
Not all translators or translation agencies will have the expertise and experience required to overcome these challenges. However, working with a language service provider or translators that specifically specialise in financial translation and have experience in managing projects of a similar size and scope to yours will greatly help you overcome these challenges.
Now that we’ve looked at the most common challenges in financial translation, let’s discuss the best practices you can follow to tackle these:
- Hire the right talent: The most important thing you can do is to hire the right talent – either an agency that specialises in financial translation or translators with experience working on projects similar to yours.
- Use the right technology: Translation technology can improve consistency, minimise errors and reduce the time it takes to translate documents – so talk to potential agencies about translation memory, terminology management and other tools that will help you get quality results faster.
- Prioritise data security: Confidentiality is paramount in financial translation and this relies on your agency/translator’s data security system. Ask them for a breakdown of their security systems, including contingency plans if the worst should happen.
- Create a translation glossary: Work closely with your selected LSP to build a translation glossary and discuss terminology management systems to automate consistency.
- Localise numerical values: Automate the localisation of numerical values as much as possible (currencies, conversions, formats etc.) to minimise potential mistakes and implement a human review process to approve figures before publishing.
- Consider cultural factors: At the start of your project, carry out market research to determine any cultural factors that need addressing in your financial documentation (e.g. colour coding increases/decreases, interpretation of symbols/icons, etc.) and implement control systems to ensure these factors are localised for each market. Repeat this research process every time you add a new market or language audience to your project.
- Be careful with exchange rates: Exchange rates are constantly changing, which means conversions are always subject to the time of calculation, so make sure you have the appropriate notes included in all documentation.
- Quality control: A reliable quality control and testing system is required to ensure consistent quality across all of your financial documentation. Make sure this is discussed in detail with nominated translation agencies or translators, too.
- Stay up-to-date: Regulations can change at any time across any market so working with an LSP or translators that stay up-to-date with the latest developments will help you keep up with the latest trends.
If you are concerned about fulfilling any of the best practices listed above, we recommend working with a professional financial translation agency rather than hiring individual translators yourself. There is nothing wrong with hiring freelance financial translators, but an LSP will be able to find the right talent for your project faster and put all of the necessary safeguards in place to ensure quality across all financial documentation deliverables.
The top translation agencies also have access to the best translation technology, project management systems (and personnel) as well as security processes that will reduce turnaround times and cost of projects and also maximise efficiency without compromises on quality or security.
If you need help with developing a financial translation strategy, speak to our financial translators team by calling us on +44 (0)20 7324 0950 or filling out the form on our contact page.